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Almost Transparent Blue (限りなく透明に近いブルー Kagirinaku tômei ni chikai burû) is the [masterpiece] of Japanese novelist [Murakami Ryu]—and a [narrative] of [drugs] and [debauchery] that will make any fan of [Hunter S. Thompson] (or [porn]) stand up and applaud.

The story, which is said to be based on the author's life, looks at a clique of young [Japanese] and [nissei] people living near [Yokota Air Base] in the [Dark Ages] of the [seventies]. Murakami writes in the [first person] as "[Ryu]," an [intelligent] guy who's lost himself in [sex, drugs, and rock and roll].

Murakami is big on [imagery], as he was originally an [artist] before setting his sights on [literature], and nowhere in his [body of literature] is this more apparent than in ATB. The many drug-enhanced scenes in the book capitalize on utterly [grotesque] pictures of dying [insect]s, [fester]ing [leftovers], and [anal sex], among other things. In many ways, reading this book reminded me of watching [Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas], except that ATB makes drugs look even worse, by pairing them up with the [erect penis] of a large [black] [Air Force mechanic] named [Jackson].

If one thing can be said about ATB, it is that Murakami pulls no punches. The book is designed to [scare the living crap out of you] (or, if you're into the [freaky] [hentai] school of [erotica], to give you good [wank] material). It's not just a compost heap of disconcerting feelings, though: Ryu is more than an actor in an [S&M] flick, he's a [lost youth] looking for a way out of the [black hole] of the [narcotics lifestyle] as [B-52]'s soar overhead.

[Be prepared] to read this book with your [mouth hanging open], unless you have experience with [sucking dick for coke].

Published in 1976; translated in 1990, published in America by [Kodansha]. Winner of the [Akutagawa Prize].