Paprika – exotic, piquant, to be used sparingly. The eponymous heroine of Tsutsui’s novel is the alter ego of brilliant and beautiful psychotherapist Atsuko Chiba, one of the leading brains in the Institute for Psychiatric Research. An expert in the use of ‘psychotherapy devices’ that trap a patient’s dreams and display them on a monitor, Atsuko is able to manipulate those dreams, even enter them, as an aid to psychoanalysis.
When treating private patients, Atsuko transforms herself into the guise of Paprika – a captivating girl of unknown age – to mask her true identity.
As Paprika delves ever deeper into her realm of fantasy, the borderline between dream and reality becomes increasingly blurred. All the more so when a colleague at the Institute
develops a new device that allows the dreams of several individuals to be combined simultaneously. With this, they enter dangerous territory – far from curing their patients, they could drive them insane.
Rich in humorous dialogue and ridiculous situations, replete with the folly of human desires, yet with an underlying sense of menace that ‘all is not what it seems’, Paprika could be described as the very pinnacle of Tsutsui’s art.
'The author is so popular in Japan that he once went on strike, and people noticed... This is sci-fi for the sophisticated, making all kinds of clever comments about the concept of sanity.' The Times
'Yasutaka Tsutsui is the doyen of avant-garde Japanese writers. His work is by turns innovative, thought-provoking and - not least - extremely entertaining...' The Independent
Read an excerpt from Paprika
Visit Yasutaka Tsutsui
's website at www.jali.or.jp
with translator, Andrew Driver
By the same author: