Journey Under the Midnight Sun Paperback – 8 Oct 2015
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About the Author
Keigo Higashino was born in Osaka. He started writing novels while still working as an engineer at Nippon Denso Co. He won the Edogawa Rampo Prize for writing at age 27, and subsequently quit his job to start a career as a writer in Tokyo.
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The novel could have come with a character list to help the reader through the first third - some will find it confusing and I would recommend jotting down a few of the names and relationships early on.
The plot builds relatively slowly but really picks up pace in the second half, with the last quarter being a page turner.
There is a lot about Japanese society in this novel that may seem very alien, but the translation usually helps explain to the reader what is meant by it, who would otherwise be baffled.
I am very keen to re-read this novel as I think a lot well come out that I missed the first time.
I think the core idea of the book is a perversity can lead to a bigger crime and then to the whole series of crimes destroying lives and people's souls, and in the process a very talented person becomes an immoral monster, and a very beautiful woman becomes a manipulator and even bigger monster. A very dedicated police inspector follows their lives for 20 years until the crime pyramid becomes so tall he finally sees his chance to stop the horror. How low can a human being go to get what is wanted?
If you like good, solid stories with compelling character development please give it a go.
And with Yukiho.
I love the intricate threads that crossed each other so skillfully and mysteriously. I loved the way the Japanese fashions and the technological and cultural changes of the 80s & 90s were like -and unlike- my particular experience in Europe.
The theme- what can happen to young people from deprived backgrounds, was powerfully built into this story right from the start and is universal. The way women are seen in society... the deceptively simple depictions of Japanese life.... the journeys the characters go on ... and a damn good mystery - I cannot recommend the book more highly.
I do agree with the person who recommended in their review keeping a few notes about the names of characters if you don't have a good memory and/or are unfamiliar with Japanese names - it does help. The book can get confusing in the middle, section, but please go back and re-read a little bit to straighten things out. It is worth it.
Keigo Higashino writes gripping, brilliantly-plotted detective fiction, but at the heart of all his books are insights into human nature and the title 'under the midnight sun' could mean a number of things in the context of this novel, but the meaning we come to at the end made me cry.