Rana Dasgupta is a fellow living in the UK who has authored what is one of the most phenomenal books I’ve ever read.
Tokyo Cancelled is basically one hell of a ride both emotionally and metaphysically (no that is not a typo). It’s an eclectic collection of short stories that really just blows my mind.
The premise for the book is a simple one, and one that I bet has happened to you at least once in your life. A whole plane load of people flying to Tokyo were diverted to a nameless airport that appears to be somewhere in the middle east. A giant snowstorm has blanketed Tokyo, preventing any flights from getting in. Unfortunately for these diverted passengers, few hotels are available to them in their overnight home. So a group of the passengers are forced to spend the night in the airport.
The travellers among you may well sympathize, because we’ve probably all had a lengthy layover somewhere or another, or even an experience like this. The characters in the book decide (after some prodding by one of them) to pass the time by telling stories.
What unfolds is a complex and multi-dimensional group of tales that really sparks the imagination. The topic, the writing style, the imagery, everything changes from one story to another. That in and of itself is incredible. It’s tough enough to switch your writing style anytime, let alone do it consistently throughout the book. I’m not even going to say that all of the stories are that great, but as a whole the book is unbelievable. It has made the rounds of the media, and I’ve gone ahead and reproduced a couple of their comments for you.
“These stories … ah, they outdo the Arabian Nights for inventiveness … One closes the book with head spinning.”
– Rachel Hore, The Guardian
“Tokyo Cancelled, the brilliantly conceived and jauntily delivered first novel by English-born expatriate Rana Dasgupta, harks back to Boccaccio and Chaucer.”
– Alan Cheuse, San Francisco Chronicle