My Annihilation
What transforms a person into a killer? Can it be something as small as a suggestion?

Turn this page, and you may forfeit your entire life.

With My Annihilation, Fuminori Nakamura, master of literary noir, has constructed a puzzle box of a narrative in the form of a confessional diary that implicates its reader in a heinous crime.

Delving relentlessly into the darkest corners of human consciousness, My Annihilation interrogates the unspeakable thoughts all humans share that can be monstrous when brought to life, revealing with disturbing honesty the psychological motives of a killer.
"1139213808"
My Annihilation
What transforms a person into a killer? Can it be something as small as a suggestion?

Turn this page, and you may forfeit your entire life.

With My Annihilation, Fuminori Nakamura, master of literary noir, has constructed a puzzle box of a narrative in the form of a confessional diary that implicates its reader in a heinous crime.

Delving relentlessly into the darkest corners of human consciousness, My Annihilation interrogates the unspeakable thoughts all humans share that can be monstrous when brought to life, revealing with disturbing honesty the psychological motives of a killer.
16.95 In Stock
My Annihilation

My Annihilation

My Annihilation

My Annihilation

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$16.95 
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Overview

Notes From Your Bookseller

Enter the world of Fuminori Nakamura’s My Annihilation and soon you will question the four walls around you. Or maybe you’ll read it outside — and soon you’ll wonder why you’re back inside. Which is to say, the book’s narrative has a genuine way of pulling you in. Open the first page. Step inside...

What transforms a person into a killer? Can it be something as small as a suggestion?

Turn this page, and you may forfeit your entire life.

With My Annihilation, Fuminori Nakamura, master of literary noir, has constructed a puzzle box of a narrative in the form of a confessional diary that implicates its reader in a heinous crime.

Delving relentlessly into the darkest corners of human consciousness, My Annihilation interrogates the unspeakable thoughts all humans share that can be monstrous when brought to life, revealing with disturbing honesty the psychological motives of a killer.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781641294072
Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 12/06/2022
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 188,972
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Fuminori Nakamura was born in 1977 and graduated from Fukushima University in 2000. He has won numerous prizes for his writing, including Japan’s prestigious Ōe Prize; the David L. Goodis Award for Noir Fiction; and the Akutagawa Prize. The Thief, his first novel to be translated into English, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His other novels include Cult X, The Gun, The Kingdom, Evil and the Mask, The Boy in the Earth, and Last Winter, We Parted.
 
Sam Bett is a fiction writer and Japanese translator. His translation work has won the Japan-US Friendship Commission Prize and been shortlisted for the International Booker Prize.

Read an Excerpt

1


A cramped room in a rundown mountain lodge, and on the desk a manuscript, left open to page one, as if it had been waiting here for ages to be read.
     The only other piece of furniture a simple bed. The wood floor creaked with every step. The slight breeze was enough to set the thin glass of the tired window rattling.     My thoughts went to the various forms of identification in my bag. An insurance card, a certificate of residence, even a pension booklet, all under the name Ryodai Kozuka. Born in 1977, he was two years older than me. Japanese standards for applying for IDs are a joke. None of these cards had a photograph of me, but I could use them to apply for a passport that did. Trading places with Ryodai Kozuka.
     I looked at the text of the pages. The paper was old, bound simply with a clip. This manuscript had to have been written by Ryodai Kozuka. An account, or even the life story, of the man whose place I was about to take.
     A white suitcase stood in the corner of the room. My heart beat a little faster. I hadn’t brought that suitcase here. That must be where it was. Kozuka’s body. Trees danced outside the window, as if to tell me of the sinister nature of this place. But I had understood immediately what to do. Bury that suitcase in the forest, and this would all be over.
     “Turn this page, and you may give up your entire life.” Or so the first page said. But I had no intention of giving my old life up. He might have left behind unfinished business, but it was no business of mine. All I wanted was his identity.
     The light from the scrawny desk lamp cast an orange glow over the dust. I lit a cigarette and turned the page of the shoddy manuscript.


*  
I guess it started with the funeral.
     A girl who lived nearby was kidnapped and discovered dead. The younger sister of one of my classmates. People sweating through their black funeral clothes milled awkwardly about. I was in the third grade, and watched these strangers dressed in black surround my classmate. His parents stood nearby, holding a portrait of the lost girl.
     They had apprehended an unemployed man in his thirties, who went on to testify to having lured the girl into his car and murdered her when she began to kick and scream. The man had a hulky build and wore ratty basketball shoes. I had seen him wandering around town several times, leaning a little forward as he walked.
     My classmate had told me that he never liked his sister, who happened to have a different father. I suppose he told me because I also had a sister I disliked who had a different father.
     When the hall had started to clear out, I went over to say something to him. My mouth dried up. My breath was shallow. The murder of the girl and the man they had arrested were plenty scary as it was, but what really terrified me was my classmate. I addressed him in a whisper. The range of lights decking the funeral hall transformed the tense figures of the strangers into shafts of shadow on the floor. The shadows overlapped, forming peculiar geometric shapes on the linoleum.
     “. . . What happened?”
     I had a feeling this was all because of him. That he had flaunted his pretty little sister in front of the giant man. A man without a job, left to nurse his dark side—or perhaps the dark side had expanded on its own—as he wandered miserably around town. Had my classmate dangled his sister at the man the way that you might tease a stray dog with a piece of meat?
     Back then I didn’t know the term existed, but I suspected this was what they call a perfect crime. Without dirtying his own hands, he had provoked this crazed, dangerous prowler to attack her. But now my classmate looked at me as if he didn’t understand, eyes bleary with tears. I realized my assumption had been wrong. My classmate’s parents patted his head, trying to reassure him. The line of strangers did the same. An ugly feeling welled up inside of me. It was a gross warmth, pulsing through my neck and cheeks. I stared at him in a daze, like I was jealous. Surrounded by the overlapping shafts of shadow.
     This goes without saying, but my current self is putting words into my own mouth at a  younger age. Back then, my mind was hazy. I was ashamed of my fantasies, but they refused to go away, as if possessed of their own will.
     That evening, I went back to my so-called home. When my sister saw me, she started crying and ran to Grandma—my stepfather’s mother, so we weren’t connected by blood. My sister said that I had hit her, claimed that I had lied about the funeral, that I’d been picking on her the entire time.
     Grandma calmed my sister down, saying, “Let Grammy take care of this.” Then it was the two of us. This time, though, she realized that my sister was lying. She had a long ruler, the color of clay. A stiff ruler that looked accustomed to its secondary function. I knew how to handle what was about to happen. She was barely going to tap me. All I had to do was scream like I was on fire, and Grandma would let up, skittish as she was. That ruler didn’t scare me nearly as much as the story of the murder, the giant man they had arrested, the murder of the little girl. Grandma set it down on the tatami and stared at me. Her left eye was cloudy and yellow. That eyelid sometimes twitched, a symptom of weak nerves.
     Grandma’s son was my sister’s father, but my mom gave birth to me before she ever met him.
      “I know you didn’t do it, but you’ve given her a scare. You understand?”
     How could I possibly understand? I’d never hit my sister once.
     Grandma wouldn’t back down. She loved my sister more than life itself. Her affection for my sister filled her nearly to the brim, so that her days were plagued by the conviction that a threat was always close at hand, a fear which manifested as a dizzying pain that tortured her. What started as love had devolved into a hysteria that she took out on others.
     Both of us knew my sister was on the other side of the door, waiting for me to take a whooping. I stared back at Grandma with a face that said that she could hit me if she wanted. I could take it. It would be okay. Just get it over with. When I looked at someone like this, with a sparkle in my eye, I always felt a warmth well up inside of me that was borderline enjoyable. She swung the ruler, slapping the tatami floor in front of me. We heard my sister scurry off. This only reinforced my understanding of how adults behaved.
     Grandma stood up, looking distraught, and frowned at me, the eyelid of her murky left eye twitching. Like she was asking me what I was doing in her house. Like I was ruining the world for her. To her, I was an intruder, standing in the way of what could have been a happy home. My existence is what made her eyelid twitch.
     Later that night, I left the room that had been chosen for me, hoping to sleep with my mom for the first time in years. I must have been horrified by what was happening in town, and scared enough of my own thoughts I needed comfort from her. Or maybe the murder had brought something up, a feeling that I wanted her to calm. The hallway was cold against my bare feet, as if refusing to warm up to me. If I told my mom my stomach hurt, I figured she would come back to my room.
     I stopped in front of the door because I heard a voice. It was Dad talking to Mom.
     “She cried again today though, right? What the hell? Why can’t they act like siblings and get along?”
     “I’m sorry. I tell them the same thing all the time.”
     “Look, this has become a problem. I’ve even got Ma pestering me about it. Come home from fighting at the office to a fight in my own house.”
     “I’m sorry.”
     “You do realize when you look at me like that, it’s like you’re blaming this on me. Is that what you think?”
     “I’m . . .”
     I heard Dad hit Mom. My heart sped up. This always happened. Every time I heard that sound, my legs went weak and all my muscles stiffened up.
     “. . . I’m not the kind of dad who beats his kids. Those guys are scum. But you, you’re all grown up. So tell me, why can’t they get along? Don’t you hate it when they fight? Why is everybody always fighting?”
     The sounds of Dad hitting Mom continued. Mom let out little shrieks. It was all that I could do to stand in front of the door. The silver doorknob glimmered idly through the darkness. The door was incredibly rickety and thin. Open it, and my entire life could transform in an instant.

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