Book Review—The Gun

The Gun Cover

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 it’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 character’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, “Was Nishikawa already crazy, or was it the gun that made him so?” If you enjoy nail-biting crime fiction, then I highly recommend this book.

You can find this review at Goodreads.

Book Description

A Tokyo college student’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 Nishikawa’s personal entanglements become unexpectedly complicated: he finds himself romantically involved with two women while his biological father, whom he’s never met, lies dying in a hospital. Through it all, he can’t stop thinking about the gun—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 enough—he must fire it.

Where to Buy

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

More Reviews

Did you enjoy this review? Check out my other reviews here.

Book Review—Go

Go Cover

I’ve enjoyed Japanese food for decades. I adore Kurosawa and Miyazaki and consider Ringu to be one of my all-time favorite horror movies. That said, I know nothing about Japan. To me, it’s a distant, wondrous place filled with smart, hard-working people who like eating raw fish, smoking, and frequenting public baths.

Reading Go by Kazuki Kaneshiro was a revelation to me, cutting through the myth of an orderly society to reveal deep-seated racism not unlike what we find in this country. Specifically, it’s bigotry against people who are Zainichi, people of Korean descent who are living in Japan but treated differently than other Japanese citizens. As told through the eyes of a boy named Sugihara, this world is brutal and unforgiving. Every day is a fight for survival. And then, he meets the girl—Sakurai.

Some academic is probably going to roast me for saying this, but here goes. For me, Sugihara is Holden Caufield—only much more interesting. He’s violent and tortured, but only because he’s been bullied all his life. When he meets Sakurai, he discovers in himself a capacity for love. And she learns that creating a tolerant society can begin with one person. Go is a beautiful coming-of-age story that readers of great literary fiction shouldn’t miss.

You can find this review at Goodreads.

Book Description
For two teens, falling in love is going to make a world of difference in this beautifully translated, bold, and endearing novel about love, loss, and the pain of racial discrimination.

As a Korean student in a Japanese high school, Sugihara has had to defend himself against all kinds of bullies. But nothing could have prepared him for the heartache he feels when he falls hopelessly in love with a Japanese girl named Sakurai. Immersed in their shared love for classical music and foreign movies, the two gradually grow closer and closer.

One night, after being hit by personal tragedy, Sugihara reveals to Sakurai that he is not Japanese—as his name might indicate.

Torn between a chance at self-discovery that he’s ready to seize and the prejudices of others that he can’t control, Sugihara must decide who he wants to be and where he wants to go next. Will Sakurai be able to confront her own bias and accompany him on his journey?

Where to Buy
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Amazon AU
Amazon IN

More Reviews
Did you enjoy this review? Check out my other reviews here.