Thursday, February 23, 2017

Review: THE GUN, by Fuminori Nakamura

The Gun, by Fuminori Nakamura. Published 2016 by Soho Crime. Translated from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell.

The Gun is definitely not your usual crime novel. It's not a whodunit; it's barely a procedural, and the murder doesn't occur until the book is almost over. It reads more like an after-the-fact confession; the narrator, who is not named, recounts the slow burn of circumstance that leads to the killing. Out for a walk one night he finds a gun next to a body; he takes the gun and becomes obsessed with it. He's a student and when we meet him he's juggling two women, but nothing else in his life compares to the feelings he has for his new best friend.

Over time he begins to feel that he must fire the gun. Then he starts to plan a murder.

The Gun is Nakamura's first novel and the latest to be translated into English; first to come stateside was The Thief, which Soho published in 2002. Nakamura has a won several prizes for his writing including the 2002 Shincho Prize for New Writers for The Gun and the 2012 David Goodis Award, an American crime writing prize.

I can see why. Nakamura keeps the tone so even and so low-key even as the narrator descends more and more into madness and obsession. Even as he commits his crime, which comes and goes by so quickly I had to re-read the passage.

You have to be up for something a little different to get into The Gun, but I strongly recommend it for crime readers up for an adventure. I'll be reading more Nakamura sooner rather than later. (In fact I just entered a galley giveaway for his latest, The Boy in the Earth. I hope to win!)


FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review.