Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date:
03/10/2019
Length: 681 pages
Genre:
Translated Fiction | Japanese Fiction | Magic Realism

CW: n/a

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When a thirty-something portrait painter is abandoned by his wife, he holes up in the mountain home of a famous artist. The days drift by, spent painting, listening to music and drinking whiskey in the evenings. But then he discovers a strange painting in the attic and unintentionally begins a strange journey of self-discovery that involves a mysterious ringing bell, a precocious thirteen-year-old girl, a Nazi assassination attempt and a haunted underworld.

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The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji

Firstly, huge thanks to Pushkin Vertigo and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Publisher: Pushkin Vertigo
Publication Date:
03/12/2020
Length: 234 pages
Genre:
Translated Fiction | Japanese Fiction | Mystery | Thriller

CW: n/a

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The members of a university mystery club decide to visit an island which was the site of a grisly, unsolved multiple murder the year before. They’re looking forward to investigating the crime, putting their passion for solving mysteries to practical use, but before long there is a fresh murder, and soon the club-members realise they are being picked off one-by-one. The remaining amateur sleuths will have to use all of their murder-mystery expertise to find the killer before they end up dead too.

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The Inugami Curse by Seishi Yokomizo

Firstly, huge thanks to Pushkin Vertigo and Edelweiss+ for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Publisher: Pushkin Vertigo
Publication Date:
06/02/2020
Length: 336 pages
Genre:
Translated Fiction | Japanese Fiction | Detective Fiction

CW: graphic depictions of death

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In 1940s Japan, the wealthy head of the Inugami Clan dies, and his family eagerly await the reading of the will. But no sooner are its strange details revealed than a series of bizarre, gruesome murders begins. Detective Kindaichi must unravel the clan’s terrible secrets of forbidden liaisons, monstrous cruelty, and hidden identities to find the murderer, and lift the curse wreaking its bloody revenge on the Inugamis.

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There’s No Such Thing As An Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura

Firstly, huge thank you to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for providing me with an eBook and a print copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date:
26/11/2020
Length: 416 pages
Genre:
Translated Fiction | Japanese Fiction | Contemporary Fiction

CW: n/a

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A young woman walks into an employment agency and requests a job that has the following traits: it is close to her home, and it requires no reading, no writing – and ideally, very little thinking.

She is sent to a nondescript office building where she is tasked with watching the hidden-camera feed of an author suspected of storing contraband goods. But observing someone for hours on end can be so inconvenient and tiresome. How will she stay awake? When can she take delivery of her favourite brand of tea? And, perhaps more importantly – how did she find herself in this situation in the first place?

As she moves from job to job, writing bus adverts for shops that mysteriously disappear, and composing advice for rice cracker wrappers that generate thousands of devoted followers, it becomes increasingly apparent that she’s not searching for the easiest job at all, but something altogether more meaningful…

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Earthlings by Sayaka Murata

Firstly, huge thank you to Granta and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Publisher: Granta
Publication Date:
01/10/2020
Length: 247 pages
Genre:
Translated Fiction | Japanese Fiction | Contemporary Fiction

CW: underage incest, child abuse, child sexual abuse, cannibalism, violence, murder

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Natsuki isn’t like the other girls. She has a wand and a transformation mirror. She might be a witch, or an alien from another planet. Together with her cousin Yuu, Natsuki spends her summers in the wild mountains of Nagano, dreaming of other worlds. When a terrible sequence of events threatens to part the two children forever, they make a promise: survive, no matter what.

Now Natsuki is grown. She lives a quiet life with her asexual husband, surviving as best she can by pretending to be normal. But the demands of Natsuki’s family are increasing, her friends wonder why she’s still not pregnant, and dark shadows from Natsuki’s childhood are pursuing her. Fleeing the suburbs for the mountains of her childhood, Natsuki prepares herself with a reunion with Yuu. Will he still remember their promise? And will he help her keep it?

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Spark by Naoki Matayoshi

Firstly, thank you to Edelweiss+ and Pushkin Press for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Publisher: Pushkin Press
Publication Date:
05/03/2020
Length: 160 pages
Genre: Translated Fiction | Japanese Fiction | Contemporary Fiction

CW: n/a

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Tokunaga is a young comedian struggling to make a name for himself in Osaka, when he is taken under the wing of the more experienced, but no more famous, Kamiya. But as much as Kamiya’s indestructible confidence inspires him, it also makes him doubt the limits of his own talent, and his own dedication to comedy.

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