Book - 2010
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A young insurance saleswoman is found strangled at Mitsuse Pass. Her family and friends are shocked and terrified. The pass--which tunnels through a mountainous region of southern Japan--has an eerie history: a hideout for robbers, murderers, and ghostly creatures lurking at night.
Soon afterward, a young construction worker becomes the primary suspect. As the investigation unfolds, the events leading up to the murder come darkly into focus, revealing a troubled cast of characters: the victim, Yoshino, a woman much too eager for acceptance; the suspect, Yuichi, a car enthusiast misunderstood by everyone around him; the victim's middle-aged father, a barber disappointed with his life; and the suspect's aging grandmother, who survived the starvation of postwar Japan only to be tormented by local gangsters. And, finally, there is desperate Mitsuyo, the lonely woman who finds Yuichi online and makes the big mistake of falling for him.
A stunningly dark thriller and a tapestry of noir, Villain is the English-language debut for Shuichi Yoshida, one of Japan's most acclaimed and accomplished writers. From desolate seaside towns and lighthouses to love hotels and online chat rooms, Villain reveals the inner lives of men and women who all have something to hide. Part police procedural, part gritty realism, Villain is a coolly seductive story of loneliness and alienation in the southernmost reaches of Japan.

Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, [2010]
Edition: First American edition
Copyright Date: ©2010
ISBN: 9780307378873
Branch Call Number: FIC YOSHIDA 2010
Characteristics: 295 pages ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Gabriel, Philip 1953-


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Jan 12, 2018

Wow! Shūichi Yoshida writes powerful literature!
Boxes within boxes; character studies within character studies.
[Fantastic translation by Prof. Philip Gabriel.]

Oct 18, 2016

The title and the description suggest a criminal thriller or a detective story; the book is neither. This is more a psychological study of the characters before and after the actual crime than a novel. The story is already known: "a woman is murdered and a construction worker is arrested..." The portraits of main characters are fine and alive. Mr. Yoshida creates a suspense that is not resolved with the last dot in the book. A reader can just guess who was the actual murderer. There are too many and no options at the same time. The book is a great example of Japanese literature; it portrays perfectly modern Japanese life outside of big cities. The story is very short, and it could be a fine read during long winter that's coming.

Jul 08, 2013

A very fine novel. Even though there is no doubt about where the guilt lies in this story of murder, Yoshida focuses on the relationships and personal motivations of all of the participants. This makes for a deliciously complicated situation where, seemingly, no complication existed before. Highly recommended.


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