A young writer arrives at a prison to interview a convict. The writer has been commissioned to write a full account of the case, from the bizarre and grisly details of the crime to the nature of the man behind it. The suspect, a world-renowned photographer named Kiharazaka, has a deeply unsettling portfolio—lurking beneath the surface o...
A young writer arrives at a prison to interview a convict. The writer has been commissioned to write a full account of the case, from the bizarre and grisly details of the crime to the nature of the man behind it. The suspect, a world-renowned photographer named Kiharazaka, has a deeply unsettling portfolio—lurking beneath the surface of each photograph is an acutely obsessive fascination with his subject. He stands accused of murdering two women—both burned alive—and will likely face the death penalty. But something isn’t quite right. As the young writer probes further, his doubts about this man as a killer intensify, and he struggles to maintain his sense of reason and justice. Is Kiharazaka truly guilty, or will he die to protect someone else? Evoking Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s “Hell Screen,” Fuminori Nakamura has crafted a dark and twisting house of mirrors that philosophically explores the violence of aesthetics and the horrors of identity, asking a deceptively sinister question: Is it possible to truly capture the essence of another human being?
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“His grasp of the seamy underbelly of the city is why Nakamura is one of the most award-winning young guns of Japanese hardboiled detective writing. ”
“Extremely dark and certainly twisted. ”
“A murder mystery that will keep you guessing at every turn, as it is never really clear who the victims and the criminals are, until the ending that you will not see coming ... A dark and wonderful psychological mind-screw that forces the reader to question their own capacity for evil ... The subjects of love/hate, abandonment, obsession, revenge and sexual deviation are all touched upon in a manner that reminds me of Camus, or Kafka with a pinch of Dashell Hammitt. Recommended for fans of crime pulps, Freud, Jim Thompson, Albert Camus and Japanese Noir.”
“Crime fiction that pushes past the bounds of genre, occupying its own nightmare realm ... For Nakamura, like [Seichō'] Matsumoto, guilt or innocence is not the issue; we are corrupted, complicit, just by living in society. The ties that bind, in other words, are rules beyond our making, rules that distance us not only from each other but also from ourselves. ”
“A tense, layered story ... [Nakamura's] stripped-down prose and direct style drop the reader straight into his nightmare.”