Friday, March 13, 2015

last winter we parted

last winter, we parted
fuminori nakamura
soho press
published 2014

A young writer arrives at a prison to interview a convict.  The writer has been commissioned to write a full account of the case, from the bizarre and grisly details of the crime to the nature of the man behind it.  The suspect, a world-renowned photographer named Kiharazaka, has a deeply unsettling portfolio - lurking beneath the surface of each photograph is an acutely obsessive fascination with his subject.

He stands accused of murdering two women - both burned alive - and will likely face the death penalty.  But something isn't quite right.  As the young writer probes further, his doubts about this man as a killer intensify, and he struggles to maintain his sense of reason and justice.  Is Kiharazaka truly guilty, or will he die to protect someone else?

This could have been a really good book.  It had a mystery, a possibly wrongly convicted man, a twisted romance, murder and insanity.  But there wasn't much to the book.  It was a very quick read and I think that's why I continued to read.  Not because it was hard to put down, but because it was so short I figured I might as well finish it.  I think I read it in a few hours.

The synopsis talks of this young writer and you would think that his character would keep the mystery going for you, but in truth I don't really know what that writer was doing.  And then all of a sudden he solves the mystery.  It's all rather abrupt.

I don't know.  I really liked the idea behind the book, but I felt the execution fell flat or maybe something was just lost in translation?

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