- translator: Jonathan Lloyd-Davies
- format: Kindle (Amazon)
- File Size: 2282 KB
- Print Length: 599 pages
- Publisher: Quercus (March 3, 2016)
- Publication Date: March 3, 2016
- Sold by: Hachette Book Group
- Language: English
- ASIN: B011A0LSKE
THE NIGHTMARE NO PARENT COULD ENDURE.
THE CASE NO DETECTIVE COULD SOLVE.
THE TWIST NO READER COULD PREDICT.
For five days in January 1989, the parents of a seven-year-old Tokyo schoolgirl sat and listened to the demands of their daughter's kidnapper. They would never learn his identity. They would never see their daughter again.
For the fourteen years that followed, the Japanese public listened to the police's apologies. They would never forget the botched investigation that became known as 'Six Four'. They would never forgive the authorities their failure.
For one week in late 2002, the press officer attached to the police department in question confronted an anomaly in the case. He could never imagine what he would uncover. He would never have looked if he'd known what he would find.
The novel opens conventionally enough with police press director Yoshinobu Mikami identifying the corpse of a teenage girl, or rather, noting that the corpse is not that of his own missing daughter. From there the novel takes us back to a cold case - that of an 8 year old girl who went missing 14 years before and was found dead after a large ransom was paid. The Commissioner General from Tokyo is about to visit the family to pay his respects at the family shrine and Mikami is meant to be preparing the press for the visit.
In reality much of the novel is taken up with an internal power struggle in Prefecture D between rival sections of the police force, Criminal Investigations and Administrative Affairs. As the head of Media Relations Mikami is part of Administrative Affairs although he was formerly a top detective in Criminal Investigations.
This is a novel that demands a lot of the reader, even more I suspect from the Western reader who does not have the same cultural understanding as a Japanese reader. I can't pretend that I understood everything but it certainly qualifies well as an entrant in the Global Reading Challenge.
My rating: 4.5
About the author:
Born in 1957, Hideo Yokoyama worked for twelve years as an investigative reporter with a regional newspaper north of Tokyo, before becoming one of Japan's most acclaimed fiction writers. His exhaustive and relentless work ethic is known to mirror the intense and obsessive behaviour of his characters; and in January 2003 he was hospitalized following a heart attack brought about by working constantly for seventy-two hours. Six Four is his sixth novel, and his first to be published in the English language.
Jonathan Lloyd-Davies studied Japanese at Durham and Chinese at Oxford; he currently works as a translator of Japanese fiction. His translations include Edge by Koji Suzuki, with co-translator Camellia Nieh, the Demon Hunters trilogy by Baku Yumemakura, Gray Men by Tomotake Ishikawa, and Nan-Core by Mahokaru Numata. His translation of Edge received the Shirley Jackson award for best novel. Originally from Wales, he now resides in Tokyo.