Thursday, April 21, 2011


「人にはそれぞれ、生きかたというものがある。百人いれば、百通りの生きかたがあり、おそらく人は、自分以外の人間の生きかたをうまく理解できないだろ う。彼女と僕はお互いに、一般てきに範疇からはみ出している特殊な生きかたをしていた。つまり、入手した死体の写真を見せ合うような、生きかただ。」

"People all have their own lifestyle. Every single person has his own way of life and is probably not able to understand the way of life of someone else but himself. She and I had a lifestyle that was different from the normal categories. A lifestyle where we showed each other the pictures of dead bodies we got an hold of."

I suspect I have serious problems with concentration. I just can't focus myself on a single activity for a long time. I wrote my thesis by writing a bit for one section, than writing a bit for a different section and going back and forth, changing everytime I thought it was getting boring. In the end, I just swept all the little parts together in a semi-coherent text. I do the same with my blogposts by the way, which explains why sometimes (often?) my texts seem to be a bit incoherent. I have the same with books. I seldom read a single book at any given time, but always several at the same time. Which means that I often can't seem to finish a single book in one week, but then suddenly three or four books are finished the next. Which is kinda what happened now. Don't think I'll discuss everything this week though.

But first an easy one. I reviewed the first part of Otsuichi's GOTH earlier, so now the second part, GOTH - Boku no Shou ("GOTH: My Chapter"). Which I actually planned to do right after the first review, but yeah, sometimes stuff happens. For more background information, I refer to the previous review. Nothing has changed for this volume though, so it's still about the nameless narrator and Morino Yoru, two students who have an interest in death. And murders. And murderers. The two of them have a knack for finding murderers, though they don't really have any interest in turning them over to the police. They'd rather just shake a murderer's hand. This part contains three short stories, just like the previous volume.

Wristcut Jiken (Wristcut) ("Wristcut Case: Wristcut") is chronologically the first story of GOTH, as this is the first story where the narrator and Morino become... friends? Friends is a big word. Allies? Partners in crime?  Anyway, the town is haunted by a murderer who cuts off the hands of his female victims. The narrator finds out his teacher is the murderer and sneaks into his house to steal the murderer's collection of hands, but his teacher finds out who stole his hands (and thus who knows his horrible secret). Murderers driven to despair often resort to violence. This one does too.

In Tsuji (Grave) ("Soil: Grave"), Saeki has the strong urge to... dig holes. Well, it's not as much as just digging holes, rather than digging holes so he can bury people in it. Alive. Of course, these victims don't stay alive for long. He usually keeps his urge under check by planting trees in the holes he digs, but he has already buried a neighbourhood boy once. And this time he has captured someone, with according to her school ID is a certain schoolgirl we readers know.

The final story, Koe ("Voice"), revolves around Natsumi, who lost her sister some weeks ago. Her sister was found slaughtered, chopped up in pieces in an old abandonded hospital. One day, Natsumi is approached by a mysterious high school student who gives her a tape, with a message from her sister, recorded moments before she was killed. Natsumi will be given the rest of the message if she comes to the hospital where her sister was killed, where she will meet the same fate.

By now, Otsuichi's stories have become very predictable. A 'shock' ending might work all six times if at least the trick was different every time, but the same trick is used all the time, so Otsuichi lost me a bit there. The stories themselves are still entertaining though, great horror/mystery stories with really creepy scene depictions. And as it's one of the few relatively new Japanese mystery books translated into English, I would recommend it to anyone. But who were the people who favored GOTH over Norizuki Rintarou no Kouseki for the Orthodox Mystery Price?! That's just plain nuts.

I wonder how Otsuichi's Zoo will be. As far as I know, that a normal horror anthology (so I'll not discuss it here), but I might enjoy Zoo even more than GOTH, as I won't think about the Orthodox Mystery Price.

Original Japanese title(s): 乙一『GOTH - 僕の章』「リストカット事件 Wristcut」/「土 Grave」/「声 Voice」

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