cover image The Gun

The Gun

Fuminori Nakamura, trans. from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell. Soho Crime, $25.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-61695-590-8

Nakamura’s first novel, a deeply unsettling meditation on violence and obsession, starts slowly. Nishikawa, an emotionally troubled college student, stumbles across a dead body one night while out walking in Tokyo. Next to the corpse is a .357 magnum handgun, which is covered with blood, a fact he doesn’t notice until he’s picked it up and left the scene of the crime. At first, just the thought of possessing such a weapon satisfies him, but naturally a desire to fire the gun comes over him. Meanwhile, Nishikawa attends lectures and seduces several women, one of whom, the alluring Yuko Yoshikawa, he might even allow himself to feel something for, but it’s the gun that dominates his world. With obvious nods to Meursault and Raskolnikov, Nishikawa slips into a sort of feverish psychosis that demands release. Nakamura (The Thief) propels his story to a truly disturbing, yet inevitable ending. (Jan.)