Jul 18, 2013

Book Review: Evil and the Mask by Fuminori Nakamura

Title: Evil and the Mask by Fuminori Nakamura
Published June 11, 2013; Soho Crime
Genre: literary thriller

My comments: I gave this 4.5/5. This is on the surface a story of a wealthy business family who has raised certain sons over generations to become "cancers,"  training them to become destructive to society.

The book uses this narrative to ponder what the action of killing does to individual people, whether they are soldiers, terrorists, or civilians.

Well worth reading for the topics it brings up that make us consider. Excellent book for discussion.

Publisher description:A follow-up to 2012's critically acclaimed The Thief ─another creepy, electric literary thriller that explores the limits of human depravity─and the powerful human instinct to resist evil.

When Fumihiro Kuki is eleven years old, his elderly father calls him into his study for a meeting. "I created you to be a cancer on the world," his father tells him. It is a tradition in their wealthy family: a patriarch, when reaching the end of his life, will beget one last child to dedicate to causing misery in a world that cannot be controlled or saved. Fumihiro is to be specially educated to create destruction and unhappiness in the world around him. Every door is open to him, for he need obey no laws and may live out any fantasy he might have, no matter how many people are hurt in the process.

But as his education progresses, Fumihiro begins to question his father's mandate, and starts to resist.

Thanks to Soho Press for an ARC copy for review.

Submitted to the Japanese Literature Challenge 7 hosted by Dolce Bellezza.


  1. I didn't even touch on the mask - becoming a new person to escape the past...

  2. This sounds really different and intriguing. The idea has so much potential both in terms of plot and theme. I may give this one a read,

  3. Do I need to read The Thief to like this one?

  4. This sounds so fascinating and like nothing I've read before. I suppose I'll have to read The Thief first, though..

  5. Stacy, Priya: the Thief has different characters altogether from Evil and the Mask. They are not connected at all, and so can be read separately.

  6. What in ironic premise when I think of all the parents who wish their children to be moral; I'm so I the rested in the idea of them rebelling against being bad! Can't wait to read this, then we can have a proper chat. Soon, I promise.


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