‘Stunning’ I feel is a very small word I am using to describe a book of such calibre. Japanese suspense novel, Confessions deals with teenage crime. Two boys murder the daughter of their teacher and feel no remorse for their ruthless act. So, the mother of the deceased girl decides to punish them in a way you cannot even imagine. In a typical Japanese mystery style, the murderers and the motive are revealed in the first chapter itself. The rest of the book delves into the backstory and depth of two of the three main characters. Every chapter is narrated in different ways like through a letter or a diary entry or a blog post. Every revelation in this book is unsettling and will keep you hooked until the very end.
Confessions by Kanae Minato translated by Stephen Snyder
Publisher: Mulholland Books
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.
Narrated in alternating voices, with twists you’ll never see coming, Confessions probes the limits of punishment, despair, and tragic love, culminating in a harrowing confrontation between teacher and student that will place the occupants of an entire school in harm’s way. You’ll never look at a classroom the same way again.
(Synopsis as on Goodreads.com)
I LIKE Confessions Because,
…the plot is simple but the characters are extremely complex. As it happens with most Japanese thrillers, the moment you think you have understood everything, you will suddenly be confronted by the most unexpected twist waiting to gobsmack you. If you think you have read the characters well, then take my word, you have not. Nothing in this book is obvious and normal.
…every character is developed beautifully and with a lot of depth. The writer brilliantly constructs the backstories of the three main characters. Each one has an important part to play and some substantial contribution to make.
…I loved the narration. Aforementioned, every chapter is narrated by a new person. Similarly, every chapter has a unique name that corresponds to the part the person plays in the book. I was mighty impressed by the amount of thought the writer put into coming up with such an interesting way of narrating a story.
I Do NOT Like Confessions Because,
…wait, whaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Who said I did not like the book. I loved it.
Favourite Quotes in Confessions
“I think we regular people may have forgotten a basic truth—we don’t really have the right to judge anyone else.”
“If you’re always worrying about what other people think, you’ll never get any tougher.”
“Weak people find even weaker people to be their victims. And the victimized often feel that they have only two choices: put up with the pain or end their suffering in death. But they’re wrong. The world you lives in is much bigger than that. If the place in which you find yourself is too painful, I say you should be free to seek another, less painful place of refuge. There is no shame in seeking a safe place. I want you to believe that somewhere in this wide world there is a place for you, a safe haven.”
“But doing something good or remarkable isn’t easy. It’s much easier to condemn people who do the wrong thing than it is to do the right thing yourself.”
“A cornered rat will bite the cat.” (My favourite quote in the book.)
Final View: Japanese thrillers have coaxed me to tentatively abandon romance and fantasy and seek refuge in suspense. And I am happy to dwell here. If you like thrillers or even if you don’t like it, you must read this book because it is well-written and extremely engaging.
You can check out Amazon.in for a discount on this book.