Set My Heart on Fire

Set My Heart on Fire

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The long-awaited publication of Izumi Suzuki's debut novel

A young woman named Izumi, details her turbulent twenties in thirteen disarmingly candid vignettes, set in the underground bar and club scene of 1970s Tokyo.

Seamlessly delivering ennui alongside snark, and tragedy nose-to-nose with apathy, Set My Heart on Fire is singular representation of young womanhood, missteps and miscommunication, and music, men and meds. With chapters titled for tracks by The Zombie, The Supremes and the Rolling Stones, as well as songs by underground Japanese bands of the time, the music of the 1960s and 1970s permeates the story.

There are distinct traces of the fraught tenderness in Marguerite Dura’s The Lover, and the raw, decadent post-war generational dissolution of Ryu Murakami’s Almost Transparent Blue. But Suzuki’s novel is carried by her own singular charm and wit, which will be readily recognised and adored by readers of her short stories.


  • The work and messages of Ursula K. Le Guin, the author’s longer-lived contemporary, come to mind. Both Suzuki and Le Guin knew that gender roles are a matter of costume or control, affect or affliction. The terms we use to define humanity are often inhuman

    Catherine LaceyNew York Times
  • Suzuki's unique sensibility, which combined a punk aesthetic with a taste for the absurd. Her work-populated by misfits, loners, and femmes fatales alongside extraterrestrial boyfriends, intergalactic animal traffickers, and murderous teen-agers with E.S.P.-wryly blurs the boundary between earthly delinquency and otherworldly phenomena.

    New Yorker
  • Wild and restless ... I can't think of anyone I'd rather read than this countercultural icon of the Japanese literary underground.