cover image My Annihilation

My Annihilation

Fuminori Nakamura, trans. from the Japanese by Sam Bett. Soho Crime, $27.95 (264p) ISBN 978-1-64129-272-6

The unnamed, memory-challenged narrator of this unsettling psychological mystery from Nakamaura (Cult X) wakes up in a “cramped room in a rundown mountain lodge,” where he finds various forms of identification under the name Ryodai Kozuka and a journal he’s sure was written by Kozuka that starts, “Turn this page, and you may give up your entire life.” In the diary are details of playing video games and growing sexual awareness in adolescence, and Kozuka gradually recalls a previous life as a doctor of psychosomatic medicine. He treated a young woman in crisis, Yukari, struggling with the burden of past traumas, who, through hypnosis, unleashed a repressed memory of a recent assault at the hands of her previous psychiatrist, Yoshimi. The narrator later leaves the lodge and uses the account of this repressed memory to initiate a romantic relationship with Yukari, which ends tragically. The stakes rise when the narrator confronts Yoshimi over his mistreatment of Yukari only to uncover more extensive abuse of patients. The narrator also sees a way to exact his revenge. Nakamura expertly mixes a look into the criminal mind with a story of doomed love. This fever-dream of a novel will long linger in the reader’s memory. (Jan.)