The Aosawa Murders

“Tell us about the room. Which part was blue? The walls were blue. A deep, cold blue. The room was Japanese-style, with tatami mats. Very small and compact. It was an unusual design, I think – two walls faced the corridor. Parts of it were a reddish-purple colour too. I remember thinking I would hate it to be my room and have to eat meals surrounded by those walls.”

The Aosawa Murders
By Riku Onda; translated by Alison Watts
Source: Advance review copy

The Aosawa’s, a prominent family, were celebrating two birthdays that long ago summer day. Everyone nearby had been invited and the guests have been enjoying the festivities. Why even a special delivery of rice wine and soft drinks have been delivered and are passed out to the guests to enjoy. Suddenly the celebration turns to tragedy when all the guests start to fall and writhe in pain. In the end 17 guests have died and only one member of the family has survived, Hisako.

Hisako is an ethereal young lady. She’s blind but acts like she’s never lost her sight and she’s the only family member who did not take a drink and thus survived. And so questions are raised about her knowledge or perhaps even involvement but thanks to a confession and suicide by a local man the case is quickly drawn to a close.

However, one of the neighborhood children who knew Hisako decides to write a story about the events and her novel, “The Forgotten Festival,” becomes a bestseller. This again sparks more questions about Hisako and her family.

If you are expecting a linear novel and a mystery all neat and tied up in the end, walk away. But if you are willing to go back and forth in time and read this book as if you were reading the case files from the murders and different points of view, then I highly recommend it. Yes, it was a little bit confusing at times but definitely worth it.

Isn’t the cover striking? I believe this is the author’s first book to be translated in English. It also won a the Mystery Writers of Japan Best Novel in 2006. She’s written several other books and I hope they will also be translated so we can get a chance to read them.

**This counts for the Japanese Literature Challenge, Books in Translation and Mount TBR Reading Challenges

  1. March 26, 2021
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  3. March 26, 2021
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  5. March 26, 2021
  6. March 29, 2021
  7. March 29, 2021
  8. March 30, 2021
  9. April 3, 2021