Mākusu no yama
Shinchōsha (Shinchō Bunko), 2011. Vol. I: 432 pp. ¥590. ISBN 978- 4-10-134719-6. Vol. II: 400 pp. ¥552. ISBN 978-4-10-134720-2. (Originally published by Hayakawa Shobō, 1993.)
Also published in: Chinese, Korean, and French
Everything goes back to a family suicide that took place in 1976 on Kitadake, Japan’s second highest peak. The youth, Mizusawa, was the only survivor of the tragedy, but with almost no memory of the past he abandons himself to a nihilistic existence. Neither his understanding foster parents nor his lover, who tries her best to support him, can drive away his demons. Mizusawa chanced upon the secret of a serious crime committed in the past and tries to blackmail the perpetrators, who have escaped punishment and gone on to take positions of power. However, his plan is far from successful, and he ends up setting not just his own life but also those of many others on the path to tragedy.
The story has more than its share of horrors and unfolds at a rapid clip, throwing up questions one after another. It depicts the tension between the criminal and the detective, the various frictions within the police force, and the arrogance and corruption of those in power who bring pressure to bear on the investigation. Takamura’s writing is both elaborate and dynamic, and her consummate skill elevates the novel far beyond the genre of mystery. This is a masterly work that looks straight at the abyss of contemporary society. (NK)
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