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“Karma runs thicker than blood in Evil and the Mask, the thought-provoking and unpredictable new novel by the Japanese zen-noir master Fuminori Nakamura.”
—Wall Street Journal
“Evil and the Mask is a brilliant novel from one of Japan’s most current authors . . . If you love Patricia Highsmith, you’ll love Nakamura.”
—Globe and Mail
“Evil and the Mask is a hard-to-put-down novel of ideas and a savage comment on nihilism, both Japanese and global . . . Shouldn't be missed.”
—Booklist, Starred Review
“A twisted tale of revenge . . . mixing noir and the existential question of free will.”
—The Japan Times
“Deliciously twisted . . . Nakamura bend[s] the line between what is good and what is evil until it nearly breaks. It’s impressive how a book so dark can be so much fun.”
“[Evil and the Mask is] full of themes that everyone can appreciate . . . Nakamura blurs the line between light and dark, good and evil. He illustrates that nothing in life is completely black and white.”
—Tulsa Books Examiner
“Evil and the Mask is concerned with a twisty sense of morality: is Fumihiro born evil, and can he escape the cruelty associated with his surname?”
“Deals with basic questions of good and evil, guilt and remorse. Cryptic detectives, smoky nightclubs, and murky streets in Japanese suburbs add to the noir sensibility. At times bizarre, at times hallucinatory, the story is always provocative.”
“This literary thriller steeps the reader in humanity’s dark nature and the struggle of those who try to resist their own moral corruption.”
“Evil and the Mask is an engrossing account . . . The story is violent, revengeful, and often disagreeable but it still contains that hypnotic voice that makes you want to read more.”
—Midwest Book Review
“Evil and the Mask, the second book of his to be available in English, is undoubtedly the narrative that will help cement him as the new master of Japanese noir . . . an absolute must-read.”
—Out of the Gutter Magazine
Posted November 8, 2013
In this author’s second novel to be excellently translated into English, a story in an extremely different genre takes the reader into the realm of crime noir of an unusual nature. It tells the story of an 11-year-old boy whose father informs him that he is to be trained to become a “cancer” on the world, creating havoc and misery wherever he goes. The family, it seems, has developed a long line of such evil, each generation spawning one such monster.
So the training begins, and a young girl is brought in to become a companion to the boy. They fall in love, part of the father’s plan to subject the boy to “hell” at some future date. Instead the boy, three years later, murders his father and consequently ends up just as he might have had the original plan come to fruition. He spends his life thereafter trying to hide from the very fact that he has committed the ultimate crime and, at the same time, trying to protect the girl from evil.
The prose is as simple and straightforward as the tale is twisted. It is a far different effort from this author’s previous novel, “The Thief,” which also described an antihero, albeit of a different stripe. This book is a complicated crime novel with deep psychological undertones into the minds of warped persons. It is told in the first person by the protagonist as he endures the horrors to which he is subjected, yet demonstrating his efforts to overcome the onus of what he has done and his background.
Posted July 22, 2013
This is a dark story, but it’s full of themes that everyone can appreciate on some level. Not feeling like you belong, haunted by your past and your secrets, feeling as though someone’s life has been completely ruined just because you exist. The journey that Fumihiro takes is a desperate one, and Nakamura shows you this path by flipping back and forth between the past and present. Using short, suspenseful chapters, he keeps you on the edge of your seat, wondering what will happen to these characters. You can’t help but put yourself in their shoes, wondering what you would do in their situation. Nakamura blurs the line between light and dark, good and evil. He illustrates that nothing in life is completely black and white. We all live in various shades of gray.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.