As I read The Gun by Fuminori Nakamura, Holden Caulfield immediately came to mind. Both novels are told in the first person. And both characters are alienated, though Nishikawa gets the prize. He hangs out with friends he is not close to, has sex with girls he cares little for, and attends school because he has nothing better to do. Wandering the Tokyo streets seems to calm him. One night, when he discovers a dead body, his life changes. But itâ€™s the gun lying next to the corpse that intrigues him, and he becomes obsessed.
Chekhov wrote that story elements should not make false promises. If we see a gun at the beginning, then someone must use it. Nakamura takes this principle to heart as he weaves his tale of ever-growing madness. He builds an almost unbearable tension as Nishikawa tries to decide when and where to fire the weapon. In the meantime, the characterâ€™s personal relationships continue to suffer. Feelings of hatred emerge, making the threat of violence more palpable.
The Gun is a taut thriller that begs the question, â€œWas Nishikawa already crazy, or was it the gun that made him so?â€ If you enjoy nail-biting crime fiction, then I highly recommend this book.
You can find this review at Goodreads.
A Tokyo college studentâ€™s discovery and eventual obsession with a stolen handgun awakens something dark inside him.
On a nighttime walk along a Tokyo riverbank, a young man named Nishikawa stumbles on a dead body, beside which lies a gun. From the moment Nishikawa decides to take the gun, the world around him blurs. Knowing he possesses the weapon brings an intoxicating sense of purpose to his dull university life. But soon Nishikawaâ€™s personal entanglements become unexpectedly complicated: he finds himself romantically involved with two women while his biological father, whom heâ€™s never met, lies dying in a hospital. Through it all, he canâ€™t stop thinking about the gunâ€”and the four bullets loaded in its chamber. As he spirals into obsession, his focus is consumed by one idea: that possessing the gun is no longer enoughâ€”he must fire it.
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