Time again to choose a book from my reading challenge list! I hesitated a long time before picking 「イノセント・デイズ」by 早見和真（はやみ・かずまさ）
I would like to say a word about why I bought this book when I was in Kyoto last December. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but I saw something like this:
Of course, it was not the same bookshop, but I haven’t taken my own photos at the time so… Apparently, it is the third edition of a conquest organised by the publisher 新潮文庫 to promote mystery novels. The event is called 紅白本合戦 and as you can see here:
winners are classified into two categories: 女性に売れた本 et 男性に売れた本. I can’t find official information about how the selection was made. So I have to guess that readers could vote for their favourite book while saying if they are female or male? (I have no idea). The final ranking is divided into:
- The top 10 books that “were sold to women.”
- The top 10 books that “were sold to men.”
Even someone like me, who knows nothing of Japanese TV shows and entertainment, has heard of the song contest 紅白歌合戦 that takes place at the end of the year. I link to the Wikipedia page of the festival, but to point out what interests us here, the contest opposes female singers (the red team) and male singers (the white team).
Obviously, our literary contest takes after the song contest:
- the name is very similar: “本” replaces “歌”
- red for women, white for men
- it is a “year-end” event
The difference is that it does not rank books from male and female authors, but books that were read (bought) by female and male readers.
I found it strange.
As an act of defiance, I bought a book from each top 3 ranking, haha.
But now that I am looking at the ranking again, I am telling myself that I should have bought the 6 books (top 3 of each ranking)! Seriously, what was I thinking of? 😩
I picked the first book of the “women” pile and the second book of the “men” pile. As you may know, if you follow this blog, I already read and much enjoyed 「豆の上で眠る」by 湊かなえ.
I have great expectations for「イノセント・デイズ」by 早見和真 and what I have read so far is fantastic!
I feared that this book might be too hard for me to read and when I opened it, I thought that I would give it a try and read the first 10 pages to see if it was not too challenging. Before I realised it, I was swept along by its captivating narrative.
A word about the story
To tell a word about the story, Yukino is facing the death penalty for the murder of her former lover’s wife and children. At the beginning of the novel, we learn the fact of the case and assist in the final part of her trial. The rest of the novel seems to give voice to different characters who knew the Yukino. Each of them will tell his or her story through whom the reader can build his or her own image of Yukino.