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Author: Kanae Minato
Read reviews from: goodreads and Amazon
I really enjoyed the book. I found myself wanting to get back to it while I was doing something else. If you haven’t already read it, I won’t take away the pleasure of the book with spoilers. As you probably know, the plot centers around the death of a child. In this it’s similar to the book by Celeste Ng.
Unlike that book, the prose here is very dry and staccato, not sure if this is a result of the translation or if the author wanted to convey the flatness of the emotional life of the characters. So this is an interesting issue re the suitability of the book for our program. It may be more accessible to students since the vocabulary is simple and there are no flourishes, on the other hand, it may not convey the richness of a literary text.
There is very little about Japan in the book, it is set in a typical classroom with young teens and I don’t think it is the right choice if we aim to foster understanding of Japan.
The material of the story is very dark, I don’t think this is necessarily a problem.
The biggest issue I am having with the book is the difficulty of discussing it. Having led three discussion groups in the past, I know that few would have read the book before coming to the group. Considering that the identity of the murderers and the way they take the news of their unmasking is central to the book, how can we talk about it without giving too much away and taking away the joy of figuring it out.
Finally, I see that the book was made into a film in Japan, not sure if that disqualifies it for the program.
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