“I was eleven, and my father had called me to his study. In his black suit he leaned back heavily on the leather sofa, perhaps because he was already an old man and standing tired him. A ray of the setting sun peeped through a crack in the curtains. With the orange light behind him, his face was in shadow. Clutching a red, radio-controlled car, still with dirt on its tires, I was aware of how small I was in the center of the large, cold room. Father’s breath smelled faintly of alcohol.”
Evil and the Mask
By Fuminori Nakamura
The young Fumihiro is called in to his father’s study so the old man can explain the tradition of his family. The young child is to be a cancer on the world. As he grows older and is out in the world he will bring misery to everyone he meets and will wreck havoc in the world but even at such a young age Fumihiro rebels against this notion.
As part of the father’s plot to mold Fumihiro into a cancer, he brings in an orphan girl, Kaori, to be his companion. Kaori and Fumihiro grow up together and as they get older they fall in love. It is then that Fumihiro’s father can show just how much he has already turned his son when he will subject Kaori to his abuse. Fumihiro still doesn’t believe he will be a cancer in this world but he must stop his father.
The twisted story moves back and forth in time and Fumihiro grows up and changes in many ways, even taking on the identity of someone else. How he stole the identity will also show just what type of person he has become but in his mind the things he has done have all been to protect Kaori.
This novel raises some really good questions about intentions and of course evil and good. Can anyone stand a chance against such evil? I found it interesting that at times I had to put the book down because of the repetition of the father’s intention to raise Fumihiro as a cancer. It was a constant badgering and it was such an effective writing technique that I was getting very disturbed by the idea of a child hearing this constantly.
A very dark novel which for me was hard to get thorough. It wasn’t so much the violence but just the idea that someone could be so evil. I read this book for the Japanese Literature Challenge. I only got to read one book but what a book it was. Thank you again, Bellezza for hosting such a great challenge. I look forward to the next one!
Source: Library copy