I figure it’s time for another book post!
This time around I'll write about some books written by Ryu Murakami.
I’ve only read a few of his books; however they are the kind generally referred to as ‘page turners’!
This book centres around a character named Kawashima. He is married and has a baby girl...and voices in his head that urge him to commit murder.
As the story unfolds, we discover the truth about Kawashima’s past, and he starts planning to fulfil his desire to stab someone. Through his plans, Kawashima meets the equally disturbed prostitute Chiaki.
The two meet in Kawashima’s hotel room, but nothing goes as he planned...
This is a creepy book with a storyline that is simple, but chilling in that it’s told from the point of view of the psychopath. As I read it I found myself both horrified by and sympathetic towards Kawashima (which was in itself pretty horrifying!) which shows Ryu Murakami’s brilliance in writing psychological thrillers.
In the Miso Soup
Another psychological thriller set in Japan. In this tale we learn about Frank, an obese American tourist. He employs Kenji, a somewhat unofficial tourist guide, to show him around. Kenji, with his Pidgin English and knowledge of the seedier side of Japan, begins to notice that Frank behaves strangely. A number of murders occur in the area and Kenji begins to wonder if Frank is responsible.
Another disturbing book, this one told from Kenji’s point of view. Yet again the descriptions and storyline are chilling, the ending even more so.
Coin Locker Babies
This is the first of Ryu Murakami’s books that I ever read. I found it fairly different compared to the two previously described.
Coin Locker Babies is the story of Kiku and Hashi, two boys that had been left, as babies, to die in the coin lockers at a train station. Luckily they were discovered and taken to an orphanage, from which they were then adopted. At sixteen, the pair find themselves in a part of Tokyo’s underbelly known as Toxitown. Bisexual Hashi becomes a rockstar whilst Kiku becomes a pole vaulter. Whilst Kiku and his girlfriend Anemone search for a substance known as Datura, Hashi and his manager D seek out Hashi’s new mother--and discover Kiku’s in the process.
This book has a far more convoluted storyline and is somewhat longer, but is still a good read. It is filled with tragedy and taboo, and you’ll still be thinking about it long after you’ve put the book down.
A few years ago a film adaptation of this book appeared on IMDB, but has since disappeared, so I can only assume the project was scrapped!
If you only read one of these books, read: In the Miso Soup. It’s probably a good place to start and has a simpler storyline.