Sunday, October 16, 2011
English Edition (c)2003 Ralph McCarthy
Publisher: Kodansha International
This is my first Ryu Murakami book and the story is about a sex tour guild taking an overweight American tourist through the Tokyo sex industry.
A day earlier there was a report in the newspaper of a "Compensated Dating" school student (aka high school dates older men for money, sometimes they shag for more money) murdered and cut into sections. There are no leads. Kenji, our tour guide, is shocked and disturbed by this murder. Maybe because his girlfriend used to do "Compensated Dating" before they met.
Kenji meets Frank and is hired to take him around the sex industry. Frank is different to all the other tourists Kenji has guided. Frank has a dark side to him and we are given brief glimpses of this whenever the character is angered -- but the face disappears quickly. He can also hypnotise people at will. And does, when he sends Kenji outside of a bar to talk with his GF outside.
Kenji returns to find a scene of absolute horror and for the horror and gore lover inside me, it was the best scene out of this book. But the scene did go on for a very long time and for several pages.
If you are expecting a horror novel, or a Hollywood type of book like Dan Brown with daggers, then you will be disappointed. This is a very Japanese book but it capture the social structure of Japan during the late 90's and possible still going on today.