Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Yoshida, Shuichi: Villain

A young woman is murdered on a remote mountain road.   this act is use by the writer to display a number of related stories about the woman, her family and friends, their lovers and their relatives.
A review quoted on the cover says the author has been compared with Stieg Larsson and that the
novel covers all levels of Japanese society.   I think neither remark is correct.   What makes Larsson
so good is the strength with which Lisbeth Salander is portrayed throughout the trilogy whereas none
of the characters in 'Villain' have anywhere near that impact.   The book also limits itself to working
class characters with only one exception, the man suspected of being the killer.   The main male is
a labourer in his uncle's building firm, the dead woman is a part-time whore and the main female a
saleswoman in a department store.   The other characters are either related to the main characters or
have some interaction with them.   Within each long chapter there are a number of shorter changes
of viewpoint to provide links between characters though a few of them remain unclear.   Overall,
this variation does help provide a rather more rounded picture without really providing any great
depth of characterisation.   I did not find it 'a superlative crime novel with intriguing twists' (Sunday
Times' as the killer's identity becomes obvious wuite early on nor did I think it was 'a gripping
psychological thriller' (Financial Times).

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