Readers of Anime UK Information could have already heard of the identify Koji Suzuki earlier than due to his well-known Ring sequence. Immediately I’m right here to try The Shining Sea, a standalone novel initially written in 1993 which has simply been dropped at the West due to Kodansha.
Our story begins with the assistant director of neuropsychiatry at Matsui Hospital, Toshitaka Mochizuki, who finds himself coping with an uncommon affected person. This affected person is Sayuri Asakawa, a younger lady who has been dropped at the hospital after making an attempt to commit suicide by drowning within the sea. After her traumatic occasion Sayuri is unable (or probably unwilling) to talk and gained’t have interaction with any of Toshitaka’s questioning. All she does is hum a tune, a tune that finally ends up being acquainted to a fellow affected person on the hospital.
When Sayuri first involves the hospital, she’s a Jane Doe with nothing to establish her or give any indication as to the place she got here from, who her household are or anything. With nothing to go on, Mochizuki struggles to determine how greatest to assist her. There’s additionally the truth that she’s pregnant and that certainly means there’s a accomplice of some description on the market. Is he looking for her? Mochizuki doesn’t know, however he makes use of the tune she hums as a place to begin for an investigation that reveals way over he may have ever imagined.
This e book is cut up into 4 chapters, the primary two being informed from the angle of Mochizuki and the latter two being informed from the angle of Sayuri’s lover, Yoichi Maki. Yoichi is on a tuna fishing boat off the coast of New Zealand, having determined to leap aboard to run away from his issues and duties again house in Japan.
After we first meet him, he has no concept about Sayuri’s suicide try nor the very fact she’s presently pregnant along with his youngster. It’s not till he receives a letter from Takeshi Sunako (the affected person who recognises Sayuri’s tune and helps Mochizuki examine), that he learns of what’s been occurring again house. However Yoichi’s relationship with Sayuri had been falling aside earlier than he jumped aboard the ship, so this information doesn’t encourage him to return anytime quickly. On prime of that, Yoichi has his personal issues along with his new life and the shipmates he shares the job with…
On the entire, I discovered The Shining Sea a troublesome learn. After all, something that begins with a suicide try isn’t going to be sunshine and roses however this can be a e book that pulls no punches. The extra we study Sayuri, the extra we realise she’s a deeply troubled particular person, solely made worse as soon as the story shifts to Yoichi’s perspective who spent so lengthy by her aspect as her accomplice. In addition to Sayuri’s story, Yoichi’s sections are stuffed with abuse of a number of descriptions in addition to one other suicide scene, so it’s in no way simple studying.
By the point I used to be completed, I used to be glad to have learn it, not least as a result of I haven’t learn any of Suzuki’s work earlier than. I can actually see why individuals like his books; he’s good at conveying a way of realism and making it really feel as if anybody may find yourself in these unlucky conditions, ought to life lead them that manner. However I’ll say I want that we’d spent the whole e book from Mochizuki’s perspective as a result of I didn’t like Yoichi’s character and I really feel that his struggles on the boat have been rather a lot weaker than Sayuri’s story.
Having Yoichi present us the angle of how Sayuri was earlier than coming to the hospital was fascinating, however I believe there are different methods Suzuki may have proven us that, with out Yoichi having such a big chunk of the e book revolve round his struggles. However perhaps it merely comes right down to the truth that Mochizuki’s circumstances are much more fascinating to me; he has a really indifferent persona which places him within the good place to theorise about Sayuri and work out learn how to deal with her. Both manner, this bothers me sufficient that, mixed with such heavy topics, I can’t readily suggest this to everybody. I believe it’s good to be significantly invested within the premise or the creator to totally get pleasure from it; any type of lukewarm emotions towards this e book goes to go away you not having fun with it.
As beforehand talked about, The Shining Sea involves the West due to Kodansha’s Vertical imprint. It has been launched as a horny hardback and is translated by Brian Bergstrom. The interpretation is okay, however there have been fairly just a few passages the place the character talking modified and there was no actual indicator of who was talking which made it complicated to comply with in locations.
The duvet of the e book can also be troublesome to learn, given the black textual content towards the sea-inspired colors doesn’t significantly distinction nicely. I’m fairly dissatisfied by this since that is an unique cowl for the English launch, the 2 used for the Japanese releases are fully completely different and would have contrasted higher with the brand design and stood out on a shelf. It seems higher digitally than it does in paper and print.
General, The Shining Sea proves an fascinating learn for thriller followers, however I wouldn’t advise going into it anticipating a lightweight learn; this novel is heavy and threatens to overwhelm the readers with its feelings and subject material. If you happen to’re okay with that, then it’s actually a narrative value experiencing.