Book review – Chase of the Rising Sun – Colin Rink
I grew up out in the countryside listening to the national broadcaster of Japan, NHK, on the shortwave spectrum. In the 1970’s, international broadcasting was about to enter its peak before a swift decline in the 1990’s.
Inasmuch as I knew about Japan, from what I was taught in school, watched on television (with the requisite twisted stereotypes more typical of 1960’s television), I was always fascinated by this mysterious culture. A society, largely closed to the rest of the World, save for tourism. NHK radio opened up some of the secrets of this nation and I was hooked.
In Colin Rink’s debut novel, Chase of the Rising Sun, Colin crafts a tale of adventure, intrigue, romance and tragedy around one Mark Rasper, a newly minted 30 year old from Vancouver B.C. who is eager to break free. Rasper has tired of his job, the shallowness of his relationships and succumbs to a yearning for travel and a fresh start.
Obsessed with Japanese culture and traditions, Rasper pulls up all his stakes and heads to Tokyo with a small suitcase, backpack and the barest of minimums of Japanese fluency. Propelled by a solid job opportunity from his Vancouver employer, Rasper finds himself immediately over his head as if overwhelmed by the power of a Pacific tsunami.
For those that have bookmarked Japan as a future destination, Chase of the Rising Sun is as much a thriller as it is a tourist masterclass on what awaits the first time visitor. Attention to detail is exquisite. The sights, sounds and smells of the Tokyo culinary scene literally waft off each page as the reader is slowly drawn into the fray.
Rink leaves few aspects of Japanese daily life off of the table – which reinforces the solidity and believability of “Rising Sun.” Whether it is the almost insurmountable task of merely “fitting in” or getting a more complete understanding of the work culture, to the habit of “work hard, work long hours and drink impossible amounts of liquor late into the night…” Rink does not miss one rhythm of this nations mysterious heart beat.
I found Chase of the Rising Sun to be an immediately breezy read – with a familiarity to it that was more a byproduct of my preexisting knowledge of this cryptic and often contradictory society. For those seeking a culinary or cultural shockwave to Japan, this is a must read or must pack along. From the food and beverage aspect of the novel, the cuisine alone is a sufficient enticement to drop what you are doing and buy a ticket pronto! And by the way, this book is not a foodies guide to the land of the Rising Sun – but more an extension of the author’s literacy. And I loved it.
Chase of the Rising Sun would be a great first book with some tame adult content for teens – but enjoyed immensely by this 60 year old. There are some surprising twists and turns in the novel. If there was one bone to pick, I genuinely wanted more – and I was left not knowing – which made the denouement of the book… well, I’ll let you find out for yourself!
Chase of the Rising Sun is available in most reputable bookstores and on Amazon!
Colin Newell is a Victoria resident and lover of coffee and cocktail culture – and occasionally reviews a book or two. Read? Me? You bet – and you should too!
I grew up out in the countryside listening to the national broadcaster of Japan, NHK, on the shortwave spectrum. In the 1970’s, international broadcasting was about to enter its peak before a swift decline in the 1990’s. Inasmuch as I knew about Japan, from what I was taught in school, watched on television (with the…