"Human beings have a fundamental need for physical and emotional space, and the desire to extinguish another life can arise when the boundaries of that space are violated."
This book was added to my reading list as soon as the translated copy was made known. The first thing I looked at was the translator, Stephen Snyder. I’ve read several of his other translated books before (ex: Revenge and Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa) so I wasn’t worried, and there’s no need to be. He kept Japanese honorifics (which I’m a fan of doing) and words that are harder to translate, choosing to explain them instead of downplaying them with a ‘close enough’ translation (such as hikikomori).
The book is divided into six chapters, each being narrated by alternate characters and each with their own perspective of the story and a confession to share. The different narrations allows the story to go deeper than just the accident/murder of of the teacher’s daughter. One point made is who is really blame for the incident. The teacher for bringing her daughter to work with her? One middle school boys accused? The parents? Society? Another key point is on revenge, and not just the teacher getting revenge for the death of her daughter.
The way the book is written allows the reader to empathize with all the main characters at some point in the story, maybe even start seeing a reasoning behind their actions. Then the story shifts to another character’s point-of-view and I felt that empathy fizzle away.
Overall this is a fantastic read. If you haven’t ever read modern Japanese literature this one is an easy read and a great for getting introduced into the genre. I also recommend to fans of mystery and crime novels set around families.
“Dysfunctional love, dysfunctional discipline, dysfunctional education, dysfunctional human relations. At first, everybody wonders how something like that could happen to such a nice family; but when you poke around a bit the dysfunction comes out, and then you see that it was bound to happen, that it was only a matter of time.”