Books: Magician of Language: Hisashi Inoue

A white 1983 Mercedes 230E embellishes the stucco house is one of the most imposing in the driveway. The burgeoning Tokyo suburb of Ichikawa. More than 100,000 books line the walls of the library. Two male secretaries are at work in the study. Yet Hisashi Inoue is not happy. "It's terrible to be a bestselling writer," he complains. One of the terrors is familiar to any Westerner: the Japanese version of the IRS. The novelist has sold 12 million copies of his 56 books, making him one of the most successful writers in the world today. Nonetheless, he says, "about 85%...

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