cover image Seventeen


Hideo Yokoyama, trans. from the Japanese by Louise Heal Kawai. MCD, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-0-374-26124-5

Based on the author’s own experiences as a reporter assigned to cover the crash of a Japanese passenger airliner, this engrossing thriller from Yokoyama (Six Four) focuses on newsroom tensions. By 1985, it has been five years since Kazumasa Yuuki, the most senior journalist at the North Kanto Times, has accepted any duties involving supervising others. He stepped off the regular career path after his chastisement of a junior staffer, Ryota Mochizuki, immediately preceded Mochizuki’s death in a traffic accident that was suspected to be a suicide. But Yuuki is thrust back into a position of authority after JAL flight 123 crashes into a mountain, and he’s assigned to coordinate his paper’s coverage and decide what angles to pursue. His struggle to place informing the public, especially the survivors of the victims, above other concerns leads to job-threatening conflict. Impressively, Yokoyama makes accessible drama out of Yuuki’s battles with his colleagues and superiors, and the introduction of an opportunity for personal redemption provides some glimmers of hope in an otherwise depressing tale. Readers will be deeply moved. (Nov.)