Jul 16, 2016

Noir Novel: The Kingdom by Fuminori Nakamura, a review

The Kingdom: a Novel by Fuminori Nakamura was an excellent, shorter read. A noir novel with a young woman in dangerous circumstances who nevertheless has you rooting for her. I read it over a month ago and plan to read it again in the future. It was published July 12, 2016 by Soho Press.

Book description: Yurika is a freelancer in the Tokyo underworld. She poses as a prostitute, targeting powerful and high-profile men whom she drugs and takes incriminating photos to sell for blackmail purposes. She knows very little about the organization she’s working for, operates alone and lives a private, solitary life.

But when a figure from Yurika’s past emerges, she realizes there is someone out there who knows all her secrets. Yurika finds herself trapped in a game of cat and mouse. Is she wily enough to escape one of the most sadistic men in Tokyo?

First paragraphs:
When did I realize I would never get what I wanted most? 
Maybe I was in my twenties. Or maybe I was a child, just old enough to make sense of the world. Back when I did nothing but glare at everyone around me, what I wanted most was far away. It was not something tangible.It made my skin burn. It ignored all the rules. It went beyond morals and reason. It was something that could overturn the foundations of everything I thought my life would become. I wonder if I still want it. What would I do if I get it?
My comments: Yurika is a sympathetic character in spite of her job entrapping well-known or wealthy men in sexual situations for blackmail purposes. Though she is not directly involved in the blackmail per se, she makes her living by following orders as a free lance character working for a criminal underworld.

When things begin to catch up with her and her life becomes dangerous because of Kizaki, who comes into her life, we easily root for Yurika to save herself and get out of danger, to even thrive and come out on top of the underworld that wants to keep her in.

An excellent read, a likeable character, and an intriguing plot. I've also enjoyed Nakamura's other noir novels, The Thief and Evil and the Mask. 

1 comment:

  1. The plot and the main character of this book sound really interesting.

    In my opinion characters that behave in questionable ways enhance the appeal of a book.


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