Alan Brown Introduction - Essay

Introduction

Alan Brown Audrey Hepburn's Neck

Born in 1951, Brown is an American novelist.

Set in Tokyo, Audrey Hepburn's Neck (1996) is told from the perspective of Toshi, a young, naive illustrator from a small fishing village in northern Japan. Raised by a reserved father and deserted as a small child by his mother, Toshi has admired America and American culture ever since he saw Audrey Hepburn in the film Roman Holiday. Eventually he goes to study English at the Very Romantic English Academy in Tokyo, where he meets many Americans, including Jane, an English teacher; Paul, an advertising agent; and Lucy, Jane's friend and an artist. Toshi becomes romantically involved with Jane, who, being obsessive and melodramatic, begins to stalk him. Considered a coming-of-age story, the novel also addresses such themes as cultural stereotypes and identity, deception, betrayal, and family relationships. Critics have been generally positive in their reaction to Audrey Hepburn's Neck. The work has been described as an intimate and authentic portrayal of Japan—Brown lived and taught in the country for seven years beginning in 1987—and has been lauded by many reviewers for its humor and complex themes. Some critics, however, have faulted Brown for clumsy prose and have contended that he attempts to address too many issues and subjects in the work. Nevertheless, most critics maintain Audrey Hepburn's Neck is a noteworthy first novel. As Pico lyer stated: "With the beautiful control of a born novelist, Brown shows us that clarity, as much as charity, begins abroad." Since its publication, the screenplay rights to the novel have been sold to Wayne Wang, director of The Joy Luck Club, a film based on the novel by Amy Tan.