Evil and the Mask
by Fuminori Nakamura
Review by Steve Sawicki
Soho Press Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781616952129
Date: 11 June 2013 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
When Fumihiro Kuki is just eleven years old, his elderly father calls him into the study for a meeting. "I created you to be a cancer on the world," his father tells him. It is a family tradition that the patriarch fathers one child who will dedicate their life to causing misery in the world.
This book has layers and layers of meaning and plot and some intriguing characters. While it is, indeed, a murder mystery it is told from the point of view of the criminal. In fact we see the detective in charge, the one who is telling the story, so rarely that it is easy to forget he is there at all. And this is foreshadowed in the first two pages so it should be no surprise to anyone.
This is certainly an interesting book. First there are the cultural differences inherent in an author writing in a language he was not born to. Second there is the unusual framing of the novel which creates an unusual perspective. And, third, there is the subject matter, the fact that this Fumihiro Kuki was bred to be a monster. Whether or not he is will be left to the reader to decide.