Mr. Foreigner

Title: Mr. Foreigner
Author: Matthew Kneale
Publisher: Phoenix
ISBN: 0-75381-3068
Pages: 171
Year: 1987

As a foreigner in the strong cultural-bound Japan, Daniel Thayne doesn’t feel in his place. In Daniel’s original plan Japan was merely a pitstop in his worldtour, but only days after arrival he loses his English passport and becomes in desperate need of money. Without any legitimation Daniel takes a job as an English teacher against minimum wages. His departure is continuously delayed, because his boss Mrs. Chiba refuses to pay his wages. Stuck in Japan Daniel makes the best of it and takes up a relationship with  Keiko, one of his students who is a middle-aged divorcee with a fondness for Disney characters. From then on things seriously derail. Keiko’s family insist Daniel marries her and they are even so kind to organize his wedding, refurnish his apartment and stipple out the rest of his life.

The title of this book is Mr. Foreigner and the story is situated in japan, so I obviously thought it would be about the culture of Japan. Wrong. The nearest thing of sniffing some Japanese culture was a short visit to an old temple and getting some sushi.

A good story would have taken my mind of the lack of culture, but there lay the second wrong. The story didn’t seem to go forward or anywhere for that matter. It just kept hanging at the same point and then went on repeat, which was very frustrating. The thing with Daniel Thayne, the main character, is that he isn’t really a likeable character. I find that a story should have atleast one likeable character or an interesting one. Daniel lets the family of his girlfriend and his boss push him around for almost the entire book. His decisions are all selfish and most of the time plain wrong.

All things summed up, Mr. Foreigner was dissapointment in every aspect.

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