Villain by Shuichi Yoshida
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The cover of this book has an embossed representation of a gun constructed cleverly out of human bones. It is a stunning cover but has nothing to do with the story. The murder is by strangulation and the only other weapon mentioned is a wrench.
I worry when I read translations. A native Japanese language speaker commented that the various characters, who told their stories, had recognizable, regional dialects in the original and that would have been another whole level to the intricate story woven by Shuichi Yoshida that garnered him so much attention for this work. But even without out that, the approach to a simple story was so different that I continued reading.
This book won the Osaragi Jiro Prize and the Mainichi Publishing Culture Award.
It takes some time to feel comfortable with the author's style and without the dialects, the only way to keep the characters straight is to pay close attention to the names which are unfamiliar to American readers. And, even though a crime is committed, this is a character study. No one is untouched by the death of a young women in a remote mountain pass. The loneliness is haunting as is the setting and the ending that wraps things up . . . or does it?
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