Shuichi Yoshida: Villain

Shuichi Yoshida

This is follow up to my article last week on the Author Shuichi Yoshida and his two works currently available in English.

For anyone wondering why I would read a book by an author whose first work I disliked, well... first, I read this one first, and second, I'm a competest anyway and once I start someone's writing I really like to look at it all.

A young girl's body is found by the side of the road. Who is she? Who killed her? And, who is to blame? Is it possible that the second answer is not the same as the third? Or, is possible that blame must be split and divided among many, including the victim's family... including the victim herself? Who are our villains?

So, to get straight to the point, I really thought that this was a wonderful, thought-provoking and enjoyable read. We have here an absolutely original piece of writing.

It's hard to describe what type of book this is... It's a mystery. But then solves itself quickly, only for the solution to slip back out of focus, then back in, finally to reveal that maybe none of that really mattered anyhow, because the story lay between the lines the whole time.

And more than a mystery, maybe it's actually just a multiple character study.  An intense look deeply into the humanity of the characters. Much more than most books, Yoshida paints the victims with realistic strokes, never protecting them from their own shortcomings, or pretending that being a victim makes you untouchable or perfect. As for the villains, Yoshida describes them with honesty, and allows them to be human, so much so it's hard to know who is the victim and who the villain, or more accurately (since there is certainly a specific victim of murder) it seems Yoshida was positing the idea that we are all victim and villain at once and always.

Highly recommended for anyone looking for a good read. I hope that if Yoshida has any other books along these lines I really hope that they will get an English translation. (If it never comes up again, though I can read Japanese it takes a lot of time, and I cannot imagine when I'll be at the level to enjoy a 300pp novel in Japanese and not feel like it's a job... so, I wait for the translations!!)

(for a look back at my review of the less likeable Parade)