Strange, creative and a little eerie, NAOKO by Keigo Higashino keeps you guessing, literally!


NaokoNaoko by Keigo Higashino

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What an absolutely odd and strange story. A little silly, a little tragic, a little dark, a little haunting and in the end a little ruthless – but overall creative and completely unpredictable.

More than two thirds into the book, I was still wondering where the plot was going and what conclusion the story was moving to, so in that way it really is mysterious and kept me guessing up to the very literal end. Perplexed is what I felt going through most of the book. I guess that is why they gave it the Japan Mystery Writers Award.

I’m a Higashino fan, I’ve enjoyed all his other books, and loved two especially (Journey Under the Midnight Sun and Malice – both of which are brilliant in their own right). He really is a master story teller.

This one, though, is not a quick read (the reason I give it 3 stars and not 4).

It moves slowly, but pulls you in wanting to understand where things are going and what is going to happen in the seemingly mundane lives of the Sugita family of three. But really, what a strange story it was, until of course it all became clear, near the very end.

After 3 years of having it on my shelf, I’m glad I have finally read it.

The mystery is finally finally over 🙂

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Journey Under the Midnight Sun – Book Review


5/5 *****

When I wrote my concluding post of 2015, I thought I’d read all the  good stuff I could that year. But little did I know, that I’d end up reading something later that would have most likely made the top of that list. My decision to start reading this book a few days before I left for a holiday was based on the assumption that it would accompany me on my travels and end up being something I finished in the new year. Yet, 4 days later, there I was, marveling at what I had just read.

JourneyIntoTheMidnightSun_firstlook_02

Image Source: Crime Fiction Lover

 

To anyone who has an interest in psychological crime fiction, I cannot recommend this book enough. To those who are looking for an all consuming, remarkable piece of writing, well, what are you waiting for!

Every time I finish a Keigo Higashino book, I am in awe of his imagination, intelligence, depth of detail, his character profiles, the strange stories and plot lines he comes up with, the way he creates Japan in my mind, and his ability to keep me so helplessly glued to them, that even as a 500+ page book ‘Journey Under the Midnight Sun’ is effortless and brilliant. I loved the manner in which this one spans across 20 years, slowing down the passage of time in the story but never losing pace in the telling of it.

When I read ‘The Devotion of Suspect X’, I couldn’t have had a better initiation into Japanese crime fiction or Japanese fiction for that matter, and made a mental note of Higashino as one to watch out for. With ‘Malice’, his brilliance was confirmed and now with ‘Journey Under the Midnight Sun’, he completely satisfies the high bar he has set for himself in each of these books.

While we are quickly running out of translated titles of his novels, I do hope his popularity is picked up with a renewed rigor by translators this year and we find several more titles from this master storyteller hitting the English reader’s market. Both ‘Malice’ and ‘Journey Under the Midnight Sun’ have been among the most memorable books for me in 2015 and in 2016, I look forward to the only two titles in English  I haven’t yet read -‘Salvation of a Saint’ and ‘Naoko’.