Author: 湊かなえ (Kanae Minato) (2010)
jusco’s Rating: ★★★
Confessions has consistently been one of the most talked about books in Japan this year. It has won numerous awards and boasts to be one of the best mystery thrillers ever written. Is it one of the best? No, but what newcomer Kanae Minato delivers is a disturbing, disquieting but entertaining psychological thriller that will easily shock most readers for its unforeseen turn of events. It starts off with a middle school teacher (single mother) revealing to her class that her only daughter was killed by two of her students. From there, what kicks off is a highly unpredictable story that slowly reveals itself page by page. The novel is structured in a way that we get to read personal ‘confessions’ or more accurately, testimonies of various characters involved in the murder (unfortunately, this structuring affected the overall flow). Thus, we never know till the very end whose confessions are true and whose are based on lies. It is a sick novel filled with ideas and actions so absurd it seemed wholly unrealistic, but it does make you think about the morality of humans (or lack of). This is not a feel-good novel and the ending may leave readers unsatisfied. But if you’re looking for something new and shocking, and you aren’t easily disturbed, give it a try.