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Villain [Kindle Edition]

Shuichi Yoshida , Philip Gabriel
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"Thrilling ... The sort of book that is difficult to put down ... [Villain] lays out a panorama of modern Japanese society, a patchwork composed of people of various classes and occupations ... A modern literary achievement the like of which is rarely seen" (Japan Book News)

"Hypnotizing . . . While the unfolding mystery holds our interest, Yoshida is really most concerned with exploring the alienation of his young characters and the lack of connective tissue between them. As the story takes a surprising turn toward the end, the author saves the biggest question for his readers: Who is the real villain: a killer who feels remorse, or a person who feels nothing at all?" (Booklist)

"Yoshida examines the lives of a victim and a killer in this subtle but powerful novel about collective guilt and individual atonement, his first book to appear in English translation . . . Multiple points of view reveal both slight and dramatic changes in a host of other people, including acquaintances and relatives, affected by the murder. Most impressively, Yoshida's complex portrait of Japanese society leaves no doubt as to his characters' actions, but tantalizing doubts about their meaning." (Publishers Weekly)

Book Description

The first English-language publication of one of Japan's most exciting and bestselling novelists.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 490 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (30 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BPBZ3L4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #60,824 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Like many people I am reading an increasing number of crime novels from nationalities other than British and American. Therefore when I saw Villain I was intrigued to see what a Japanese take on the genre was like. It also helped to see that the translator is Philip Gabriel who has translated several of Haruki Murakami's novels. I will admit that it took a while to get into this but I was hooked from about page 30. However it is not fast paced and if you are looking for that type of crime then this is probably not for you.

Near the beginning we learn that a young construction worker has been arrested for the brutal murder of Yoshino Ishibashi. Is he guilty? If he is why did it do it? We are then taken back in time and through multiple perspectives the story unfolds, basically ending where it began.

The murder of Yoshino is the crime that carries the narrative, but Villain is more than a crime novel. It is a story of disaffected youth, the generation relying increasingly on modern technology to meet people and, through boredom, a desire for excitement, moved to take risks. It might be set in Japan but these young people could come from almost anywhere in the developed, technologically advanced world. It also emphasises the increasing emphasis on appearance, the wanting to look different but still fit in, in particular with regard to hairstyles - Yoshino's parents run a barber shop - Japanese youngsters are inclined to be more extreme than many of their western counterparts.

It also explores the way that Japan is changing. Japan is influencing western culture while at the same time the younger generations in Japan are becoming increasingly 'westernised', turning away from the traditions and ritual of their parents.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Completely different 14 Nov 2010
It was very interesting to take a glimpse at a totally different culture through the pages of this novel. We all live in such a cyber society these days, but the Japanese even more so than us it seems. The feelings of isolation and loneliness and quiet desperation from some of the characters is quite frightening. There is also the juxtaposition of old world versus new in the depiction of the generation gap between grandparent and grandchild -the different values and the increasing alienation. In amongst all this we have a murder and a strange kind of love story. Strange because it is not really conventional, but intense all the same. You feel in this book that everybody is searching for something and it really epitomises the emptiness of lives increasingly spent in seclusion, or in shallow behaviour. To talk too much about the plot itself would give too much away, and to my mind ruin the experience of reading the book. Who is the real villain in this book, are the people involved totally to blame, is society to blame, where does all the anger come from, is its source external or internal,and how far will people go for love?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
First published in Japanese under the title 'Akunin' back in April of 2007, Japanese novelist Shuichi Yoshida saw his novel later becoming translated by Philip Gabriel for its English language re-release in August of 2010.

DLS Synopsis:
On a cold winter's night, on the quiet mountainside road known as the Mitsuse Pass in Southern Japan, young and moderately attractive insurance saleswoman Yoshino Ishibashi is found murdered along the deserted roadside. Signs of strangulation can clearly be seen on her discarded body.

As the police begin their intensive investigation, popular college student Keigo Masuo quickly becomes the prime suspect. The last anyone saw of Yoshino was when two of her close friends left her on the night of her murder to meet with Keigo who, as Yoshino informed her friends, she was starting an intimate relationship with.

But no one can locate the young college student. The last his friends have seen of him was a few days ago. However, as the police investigate the circumstances surrounding the young girl's death, they discover that she had been frequenting online dating sites, from which she had already met up with a few men.

Gradually, a not-so-innocent picture of the young Yoshino's private life begins to unfold. Claims of prostitution begin to emerge across the media, shaming her distraught parents further. And then, slowly but surely, the light of suspicion begins to fall instead towards a timid twenty-seven-year-old construction worker named Yuichi Shimizu who Yoshino was beginning a secret relationship with.

It quickly becomes apparent that Yuichi was also there that night. The young couple had arranged to meet for a late-night date.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Firstly, let me say this book wasn't quite what I was expecting. Don't read it expecting it to be a thriller or even the 'half police procedural' that it says on the cover. Some readers expecting a high tension pot-boiling thriller are likely to be disappointed. However, those that enjoy a well crafted and written novel will no doubt not be.

This is a story set in the southern region of Japan around Nagasaki. It examines the events and lives of the characters surrounding the death of a young girl, Yoshino, whose body is found on a road in a lonely mountain pass showing she had been strangled. The events and characters surrounding her a carefully and cleverly revealed, showing she had a secret aspect of her life her close friends and family were unaware of. The book gives a very interesting perspective on aspects of Japanese life and attitudes, as we learn the identity of her killer, why she happened to be on the mountain road, and the reactions and fate of her kileer, friends and family. A very thought provoking, evocative and well crafted story that deals with aspects of responsibility and guilt.

The author is well known and celebrated in Japan, and I will certainly look out for more of his work in translation. Recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Bleak but good exploration of alienation
This was a little depressing, but only because it was so well written. I felt a certain empathy for the central character and felt that Shūichi Yoshida made him a believable... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars There's a Villain in all of us
I enjoyed this book.

As with practically every read to come from outside the Western world, the story is alarmingly ambiguous and open, and affords the reader a chance... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Materia Keeper
4.0 out of 5 stars melancholic thriller
Brilliant plot, excellent translation of a somewhat depressing social scene in young Japanese. Dark mysterious and sad crime thriller. Read more
Published 5 months ago by anjana temple
3.0 out of 5 stars it was ok
the thing is that all the way till 3/4 you are awaiting for something surprising and... I would spoil it if I said more the note says for itself, I read better japanese novels.
Published 10 months ago by not happy one
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!
Really getting into these Japanese crime thrillers. I don't know, but they seem to put a completely different spin on a story. Absolutely fascinating. Amazon delivery perfect too!
Published 13 months ago by Gezza
5.0 out of 5 stars gripping!
Readers who have not tried Japanese crime fiction should start right here! Gripping, suprising twists - young women and men flirting on the fringes of the love hotels.. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Dr. R. Holliday
4.0 out of 5 stars A book that keeps you guessing
This is a good murder mystery book investigating the death of a woman found dead at the top of a mountain pass. Read more
Published on 21 Jun 2012 by Philip
3.0 out of 5 stars Unusual view of Japan
This murder thriller is not a whodunit, since you will quickly realise who committed the crime which kicks off the story. Read more
Published on 13 Jun 2012 by Bernardette Lugner
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing, riveting
This is not a crime novel. Crime novels, although entertaining, are often well executed works that take you by the hand and lead you through a journey of guesswork, and can often... Read more
Published on 16 Jan 2012 by tonupkid
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good read
This is the first novel that I have read by Shuichi Yoshida. I chose it as I dont usually read murder/crime novels and also I have an interest in anything Japanese simply because... Read more
Published on 3 Jan 2012 by Mrs. R. Breslin
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