One of my good resolutions for 2018 is to read more books by Higashino Keigo. This is not a very hard resolution to keep as I love this author. I have decided to take a break from the Kaga series that I am currently reading and chose a relatively recent and long novel: 「パラドックス13」(read: パラドックス サーティーン)
This is the longest novel that I have ever read in Japanese, 562 pages. But it seems to be as easy as the other novels that I have read so far. Flipping through the book also allowed me to see that the most part of it consists of dialogues.
As for the story, it seems to be very different from the other crime/mystery novels by Higashino Keigo. To sum up the beginning, on March 13th, at 1:13 p.m people mysteriously disappear from the surface of the earth. We learn from the cover that only 13 people remain. It does not really seem to be a science-fiction story, nor a crime or mystery novel. I still have no clue how the story will evolve, but the beginning is very intriguing and exciting.
To be honest, the first chapter took me aback. It figures Japan Prime Minister (a fictional one), scientists from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and a bunch of ministers. If you start this novel, you might think that it is a challenging one just because the first chapter is a little frightening. I read it twice to be sure I wasn’t missing anything and once I had made my way through the name and function of each character, there was nothing particularly difficult left. In fact, this first chapter’s main point is to talk about the “paradox 13”, a phenomenon that will occur on March 13th, but no real scientific explanation is given. The Prime Minister even says 「理論を理解する必要はないよ (…) 正直いって、私もよくわかってないんだ。だから、こういう現象が近々起きるということだけ了解してくれればいい」So, if even the Prime Minister doesn’t understand it all, we, readers, don’t need to worry too much about it.
The story really begins with chapter 2 (p.16) and it becomes much easier to follow. For now, I can say that there is nothing particularly difficult in this novel. The only point that gives me a headache is to remember all the Japanese names. Thankfully, there should be only 13 people in this story but the name of most of them is introduced at the same time and I just can’t remember them…
As the novel does not seem to present any laborious part, I won’t do reading notes, but I have created a page called “東野圭吾～パラドックス13: list of characters” where I will note all the characters name. I do it more for my own sake, but if anyone wants to read this novel, it might be useful, too. It’s not I will, of course, add information to this page as I come across them in the novel.