The Crimson Labyrinth
Yusuke Kishi. Vertical, $14.95 (284pp) ISBN 978-1-932234-11-4
The success of the 2002 American movie The Ring, a remake of Hideo Nakata's Ringu, has excited interest both in the original film and in the novel on which it's based. The plot will be familiar to the movie's many fans: a reporter, Asakawa, connects the death of his niece to the deaths of three other high school students. During his investigation, he discovers a videotape with a terrible warning: ""Those who view these images are fated to die at this exact moment one week from now."" With the aid of a friend, Asakawa traces the video to an alleged psychic and her daughter, Sadako. As in a classic ghost story, fate singles out one, often innocent character as a scapegoat. But the misogynistic society that persecutes Sadako and her mother must ultimately bear witness to its sin-or perish. Despite a somewhat pedestrian and unintentionally comic prose style that seems derived from manga comics (""Ryuji was right. Men could not bear children""), fans of the movie won't be disappointed. Anyone curious in how the Japanese see themselves will find this book a fascinating, and ultimately highly disturbing, experience. (Apr. 15) Forecast: Aptly billed as the Japanese Stephen King (because both writers provide insights into how their respective cultures view themselves), Suzuki once rode a motorcycle from California to Florida. A national author tour, by presumably more conventional transport, is sure to boost sales, since there was no mass-market tie-in to the movie.
Reviewed on: 10/30/2006