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Currently Reading: 『手紙』by Keigo HIGASHINO

I will stick to my resolution to always be reading a book by Keigo HIGASHINO. I found that reading several books at the same time in Japanese is the best way to avoid loss of interest or discouragement.

手紙.jpg
『手紙』, 東野圭吾, 文春文庫

I am so sure that I will love any book by Higashino that I just pick them randomly and never read the summary on the back cover. But I am surprised by『手紙』. It is hard to tell where the story will lead us, and I suspect the book to be more a social portrait than a crime novel. I already noticed that Higashino gives a social dimension to some of his books, and I would not be surprised if 『手紙』fell in this category.

The book is divided into 6 chapters, and I have only read the first one. To me, this book is like a focus on what is usually dismissed in crime stories: the daily life and hardship of the persons involved. Usually, a novel would concentrate on the plot, the investigation, and while it lets us glimpse at the suffering of the actors involved, especially the ones surrounding the victims, it rarely bothers to show us how, say, the brother of the murderer adjusts to his new condition and goes on with this life.

I think that this is what 『手紙』will do, though the novel might still change direction. In any case, it is a little different from what I expected, but I enjoy reading it all the more.

2 Comments

    • It depends on the book, but yes of course! I don’t struggle too much with unknown kanji in Higashino’s novels for example, that’s why I love reading them. But of course, there are novels that are full of unknown kanji and that I find very difficult to read, or sometimes even give up.
      This being said, there are a lot of kanji that are not “unknown kanji” but still not “known kanji”. Typically, I cannot pronounce them but either I know exactly what they mean, or I have at least an idea of their meaning. This plus the context allow me to understand enough to keep going without the help of a dictionary.

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