So I saw this book in a book shop during the first bad rains this season. Our house was flooded, so with the help of a very good friend, we had lodged in a hotel. There was nothing much to do, so I bought this book and started reading. The primary reason I picked up this book was because it was by Keigo Higashino, who wrote “The Devotion of Suspect X”. For the uninitiated, this book was made into a Japanese movie of same name and then was remade in Korean in the “The Perfect Number” which was in turn plagiarized by Jeethu Joseph in Malayalam to a movie called Drishyam which was then remade in Tamil in the name Papanasam. So now you know the beauty of the novel. The core of the novel transcended the boundaries and was able to strike a chord millions of people across the globe. That is why I respect this writer.
Probably, he got irritated by the whole drama. So he is back with a grim and dark tale this time with Journey Under the Midnight Sun. The story starts in 1970’s in Osaka, Japan. I never knew any place other than Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki till I read the novel. The author doesn’t waste time getting into details. We get to see the dead body in the first chapter. A pawn-broker is murdered in a very unusual place. No one was the witness and they couldn’t even find the murder weapon. But to our surprise, the story pushes aside the person who was murdered and the reason for it. We move on to the lives of Ryo, the son of the victim and Yukiho, the daughter of one of the suspects. But the detective, who was assigned to the case couldn’t let it go and pursues the case. For twenty five years.
The author takes us through an amazing journey of yesteryear Japan. I would say it should be an example of modern day urban fiction because it has all elements in it. There are so many murders in the novel, but to my dismay I was so engrossed with the life of Ryo and Yukiho to take them seriously. Not that any of the murder scenes were written sloppy. How many times have you come across a novel which talks about the motivation behind the crimes in length than the crime itself. You read few books of the author and sometimes you cant help but try to get into his or her head. I had the same feeling when I had read Gillian Flynn.
To Keigo, stalker is a very inadequate term. His characters go behind the one they love. But it is clearly more than stalking. It is even more than obsession. It is some kind of worship and the action which follows can be only described as the actions that are taken in reverence. The characters in his novels, take decisions or act upon only one motivation. Love. Their means may be wrong. But why they have become what they become is only because of love. Imagine someone killing a person by powdering cyanide in their commode, and does it because of his love for another person. We are pulled and at the same time repulsed because of such thought.
There are so many grisly details I don’t want to go into. But such is life. When I finished the novel, I was not sure who the villain or hero was. And slowly after two or three days I was drawn to the side of the perpetrators rather than victim. The translation was top notch. The characters really grew on me. I am going to read it another time. Just cant keep away from it.
P.S. If you had played Super Mario Game in that 9999999 games in one cartridge, you will be amused to know about its back story. It is detailed in the novel.
Verdict : Go for it 🙂
Picture Source : http://www.crimefictionlover.com/