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by Mari Akasaka
Published by Soft Skull
Rei Hayakawa, a deeply lonely, bulimic freelance writer with a drinking problem, wanders through a convenience store. She's swaddled in her coat and scarf, her thoughts Ð of alienation, of hunger, of the need for gin and white wine Ð drifting in via stream-of-consciousness. A trucker walks in, deliberately grazes her behind with his hand, and Rei's cell phone, set on vibrate, goes off over her heart. Rei gets into Okabe's truck with him Ð and stays. Suddenly she finds herself embarking on a road journey across the wintry landscape of Japan aboard this stranger's longhaul truck. But can the physical relationship that develops between them offer Rei what she needs, and can she ever free herself from the dangerously self-destructive tendencies that afflict her? Though both parties are initially guarded and distant, they ultimately begin to trust and confide in one another. What begins as a carnal pick-up becomes something more meaningful and transforming.
Vibrator explores the duality between the intimacy of the truck cab and each character's yearning for the independence and freedom of the open road, between being haunted by one's history and the fear of forging a new one.