Vol. I: Shinchōsha (Shinchō Bunko), 2011. 480 pp. ¥670. ISBN 978-4-10-129041-6.
Vol. II: Shinchōsha (Shinchō Bunko), 2011. 513 pp. ¥710. ISBN 978-4-10-129042-3.
Also published in: Korean
In Kekkai, however, Hirano switches gears a decade after his debut to take a good look at the festering underbelly of modern Japanese society. Set in the fall of 2002, the tale gives an account of the gruesome discoveries of a severed human head, hands, feet, and other body parts, first in Kyoto and then other locations across Japan. Next to the head is found a defiant note from the killer, who signs the message as Akuma [the Devil]. The story underscores the violence rampant in modern society, as well as the dark side of humans that has been unleashed by the Internet. Accordingly, the title serves as a warning that modern society is in danger of committing a fatal error that will cause the dam to burst.
On the whole, the narrative evokes the prophetic vision used by Fyodor Dostoevsky to probe human crime and punishment. However, there is no God in Kekkai; instead, it is a story of crime in a godless age. (NM)
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