"That's all trash, brother. Why are you wasting your time?” a voice accosted me, catching me midway between a sentence and the next on a page in The Rachel Papers.
On that evening I was at Kinokuniya. After browsing through a number of classics, I was standing in front of a shelf full of contemporary works. Amid scores of novels dealing with adult themes by writers I didn't recognize, two titles, one by Martin Amis and another by Ian MacEwan, grabbed my attention. I was especially interested in Amis's work. It was his first novel, The Rachel Papers that I was looking at. It was at that point of time that Asato's voice reached my ears: “That's all trash, brother. Why are you wasting your time?”
The intrusive voice offended me. I turned back and saw this little bald man in dishevelled clothes standing right behind me. He had a bespectacled oriental face resting on a slender neck. I couldn't remember seeing him before.
In a hectoring tone, he started a volley of unsolicited commentary, “and the shelf next to this, and even the one next to it…it is all trash, brother” the stranger said, pointing his small fingers to the neighbouring shelves in the bookstore.
What rubbish, I thought. I had just seen a Dr. Zhivago on one of those shelves.
“This is not literature brother. This is all sex and trash,” he remarked.
I felt my raised heckles calming down. In a moment, the man's sincerity had me enthralled.
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