Book lover. Stephen King Fanatic. Will try anything once. General Lover of Fiction. Reviewer Everywhere. All views my own. Mostly.
Publication Date: 19th August from Mulholland Books.
With thanks to the author and publisher for the review copy via Netgalley
After an engagement that ended in tragedy, all Yuko Moriguchi had to live for was her four-year-old child, Manami. Now, after a heartbreaking accident on the grounds of the middle school where she teaches, Yuko has given up and tendered her resignation.
But first, she has one last lecture to deliver. She tells a story that will upend everything her students ever thought they knew about two of their peers, and sets in motion a maniacal plot for revenge.
Well. Ok that was an amazing read for me, totally addictive I barely put it down. My first reaction upon completing it was to go a little bit Bill and Ted. “Messed up dude” was my actual thought.
And indeed, there were some messed up characters within the pages of “Confessions”, often for good reason as the story developed but occasionally just because. Such horrific happenings and yet told mostly in a very matter of fact and straightforward fashion – through several layers and several voices, we find out the what, why, when and who and as much as this is a book of confessions it is also a book of consequences. Like a nest of Russian dolls one thing leads to the next and to the next and irrevocably to a final showdown which for me, was immensely satisfying if very dark.
My first foray into Japanese fiction – I can certainly see why it was a bestseller, perhaps the Japanese “Gone Girl” not in story at all but in capturing the imagination and creating a word of mouth buzz that obviously worked well and for good reason. Watching the thought processes of some very twisted minds as they play out scenario’s that are at turns fascinating, horrifying yet very believable this is intensely creepy and profoundly disturbing.
The prose is staccato in nature, most especially from the teacher’s point of view, giving a sharp and often detached feeling to the whole thing, as perhaps someone in shock one step removed from events may describe something – it gives a particular resonance and ambience to the tale being told and creates an edgy atmosphere that may play on your nerves – it certainly did on mine. Some very creative writing right there and almost perfectly constructed.
From the moment Yuko starts her goodbye speech to her students, to the very end where she has the final word, you will be enthralled, often uneasy and absolutely wanting to know what is going to happen. This is not a book where you will love the characters, perhaps not even relate to them, or root for one or the other but more a psychological thriller that will edge its way into the very darkest recesses of your mind and linger there…waiting to jump at you out of the shadows.
This is not a horror story and yet it horrifies. It is not really a crime story although there are crimes involved. It is a story of the darker side of human nature, one of vengeance and ramifications and oddly, childhood and coming of age. For me it was perfectly poised and certainly one of the best books I’ve read this year for getting me obsessively involved in its pages. Its ok, I’m breathing again now…
I can see why it won’t be for everyone – if you want kittens and rainbows stay away. If you can’t cope with a story that is utterly dark with very little hope of redemption for anyone then stay away. But if you want a book that will get into your head and make you shiver then get this now.
From me it comes Highly Recommended.
Happy Reading Folks!