Bitter Lemon Press | 26 July 2022 | 286 pgs
Source: Library
Translated from the Japanese by Alison Watts

Where to begin? Everything about this story baffled me; starting with the sunny poetic title which has nothing to do as what it suggested (or perhaps I just missed it). In any case the concept was refreshing albeit a bit muddled in my opinion. 

The story opens with a couple in their shared flat for a late night conversation before they go on separate ways. Aki and Hiro felt they've to know each other's feelings and thoughts after their mountain trek in which their guide had fallen off the mountain. To begin with, their relationship has somewhat broken down before the trip and looking back, they began to wonder if the other has anything to do with the guide's death. 

Set over the course of one night, the reader will soon learn that the mind games between the couple go far beyond from that fateful trekking trip as there's something more about their past which might have start the chains of events leading to what happened on the mountain.

With narratives alternate between Aki and Hiro, this story was draped in an intense, suffocative atmosphere which have you question the characters' inner thoughts and the unravelling truth as a new day began. Truth be told, the strength of the story lies in the taut atmospheric setting and the tension between the characters but the suspense of the guide's death was shadowed by the characters' reminiscence as the story progresses. It was quite a well-crafted story characters-wise but a bit lacking in the thriller department (though I later understand that this isn't the core of the story at all). This book wasn't what I'd expected initially but the author's writing intrigued me. Perhaps I should check out her previous book, The Aosawa Murders (selected by NYT as one of most notable books of 2020.)
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8 Responses
  1. Harvee Says:

    I believe I have read this but will check to see if I registered it with goodreads. Unusual book, yes.

  2. Melody Says:

    Harvee - Indeed it's an unusual book. I didn't love it but then the concept was refreshing in a way.

  3. Greg Says:

    What an amazing title. I would not have expected that kind of story based on that title or the cover, actually. Interesting! I've started reading more Japanese books so maybe I should try this...

  4. Lark Says:

    This does sound a bit strange, but also intriguing. Your review has me curious. :D

  5. Melody Says:

    Greg - I thought that's a lovely title but a bit off with the theme, though. I'll be curious of your thoughts if you do read this, Greg.

  6. Melody Says:

    Lark - Not something we're used to read, but it was refreshing in a way. ;)

  7. Such an interesting title! I find the premise of this book as you described it interesting, Melody. I would have expected a thriller so am curious to what direction it did take. You've tempted me enough to want to give this one a try!

  8. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I hope you'll enjoy reading this if you get to it, Wendy.

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