Read Villain by Shūichi Yoshida Philip Gabriel Online

villain

A young insurance saleswoman is found strangled at Mitsuse Pass. Her family and friends are shocked and terrified. The pass—which tunnels through a mountainous region of southern Japan—has an eerie history: a hideout for robbers, murderers, and ghostly creatures lurking at night. Soon afterward, a young construction worker becomes the primary suspect. As the investigationA young insurance saleswoman is found strangled at Mitsuse Pass. Her family and friends are shocked and terrified. The pass—which tunnels through a mountainous region of southern Japan—has an eerie history: a hideout for robbers, murderers, and ghostly creatures lurking at night. Soon afterward, a young construction worker becomes the primary suspect. As the investigation unfolds, the events leading up to the murder come darkly into focus, revealing a troubled cast of characters: the victim, Yoshino, a woman much too eager for acceptance; the suspect, Yuichi, a car enthusiast misunderstood by everyone around him; the victim’s middle-aged father, a barber disappointed with his life; and the suspect’s aging grandmother, who survived the starvation of postwar Japan only to be tormented by local gangsters. And, finally, there is desperate Mitsuyo, the lonely woman who finds Yuichi online and makes the big mistake of falling for him.  A stunningly dark thriller and a tapestry of noir, Villain is the English-language debut for Shuichi Yoshida, one of Japan’s most acclaimed and accomplished writers. From desolate seaside towns and lighthouses to love hotels and online chat rooms, Villain reveals the inner lives of men and women who all have something to hide. Part police procedural, part gritty realism, Villain is a coolly seductive story of loneliness and alienation in the southernmost reaches of Japan....

Title : Villain
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780307378873
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Villain Reviews

  • j
    2018-11-22 22:08

    You may have seen Villain touted as "the next Stieg Larsson." Never mind that Steig Larsson is a person and Villain is a book. Probably the people who said this meant Stieg Larsson's books. So aside from the fact that they are both translated into English and involve murder, I noted the following similarities between the two for however many chapters it took for me to get bored of writing stuff down while trying to read this kind of dull book: - we're repeatedly told what street everything is on, and about characters driving on one street and turning onto another; these kinds of details are meaningless to readers who don't live in Sweden or whatever small city in Japan this book is set in.- Brand names are mentioned constantly (Tiffany earrings, Louis Vitton purse, Audi A6) along with associated prices; this is not nearly as blatant in Villain as we never learn what kind of cell phone everyone uses.- whenever characters sit down for a meal, we're told what they eat and how much it cost; they eat fewer sandwiches and drink less coffee in Villain, but there is a stunning description of how the bill was split three ways after a group outing.That's it. The only other thing in my notes was that in Villain, one? of the characters doesn't smoke, which would never happen in a Stieg Larsson novel. Eh. Maybe if I'd taken more careful notes, this review would continue to be amusing. But like I said, the book is pretty boring, so what do you expect?So anyway, I read this like two months ago but I keep forgetting to review it, probably because it was largely forgettable. It's a really weird book. It's ostensibly a mystery story, but it tells you who the killer was pretty much right away, then it fakes you out for a while, making you think that no, maybe it wasn't him, but really, who else can it be? And what do you know: it is.As referenced above, I kind of did read this because I saw it referred to several times as "THE NEXT STIEG LARSSON?!" (interrobang?!) Now that I have finished it, of course, I can see that reviewing it as such is ludicrous, and offers a total misreading of why The Girl Who... books are popular. I mean, yes, this one was also translated, and it's also about a grisly murder mystery, and there is some social commentary (amorality among the youth in modern Japan) and whatnot, but, and maybe I'm wrong, I don't think anyone reads Stieg Larsson for the way it delves into Swedish politics (unless readers actually like to be slightly bored and confused).No, Stieg Larsson's books are clearly popular because of the title character; it certainly isn't their airtight plotting or, good lord, the writing. So when I pick up a book touted as "the next Stieg," I'm not looking for a sexy mystery, I'm looking for a sexy mystery with interesting characters. Villain... doesn't really have those. There's no real protagonist -- the story follows four or five people that are loosely connected to the murderer and his victim -- and though we find out a lot about each of them, they never feel developed beyond the circumstances of the plot. Which is weird because the half-baked plot seems beside the point; my impression is that the author sees this as a character study first, but aside from forcing me to spend a lot of time reading from the POV of a weak-willed sociopath, he doesn't really do anything interesting in that regard.And from the "don't judge a book by the cover" files: while this is a neat image, there are no guns in this book, nor are there skeletons. So yeah, that doesn't really makes sense at all. Not even thematically, unless you want to get really obtuse about it ("See, it's about the way VIOLENCE is structured into the society, like a foundation or BONES if you will...").

  • Jessica
    2018-12-03 23:10

    I have a weakness for Japanese crime novels--Matsumoto, Miyabe, Higashino--and this one, by Shuichi Yoshida, is among the best. What's wonderful is how easily, how naturally, Yoshida slips into various points of view, giving us a full picture of the culture of a contemporary small Japanese city and seaside town. The novel might be subtitled Mitsuse Pass as the treacherous mountain road, the scene of the crime, is always in the background and often visited by various characters. But perhaps the most impressive aspect of the novel is the questions it raises, the issues of morality it explores: is the villain of the title the murderer? Or is the unfeeling wealthy character who leads to the victim's demise the real villain? Or is contemporary workaday world, with its breakdown of family ties, to blame? The novel covers a wonderful cross-section of contemporary Japanese family life: sisters, grandparents, an absent mother, husband and wife (father and mother), and young men. The lives of the characters also interweave in ways that are believable. Finally, there is also a love story here as well as a Roshomon tale.

  • Tony
    2018-11-30 15:58

    Crime novels are often the best kind of fiction for illuminating a society, and I've certainly found that to be the case with the Japanese crime fiction I've read. They really highlight some of the aspects of Japan that are so completely different from life in America. In this first of Yoshida's books to be translated into English, a sense of isolation and oppression hangs heavily over many of the characters, both young and old, and the overall effect is a portrait of a stifling society at odds with itself.The story concerns the killing of a young inurance saleswoman along an isolated mountain road, and the people affected by her murder. Moving back and forth in time, we meet the victim and her workmates on the night of the killing, two men she had been involved with and their friends, her parents, the grandparents of a another character, and a few others. The cast of construction workers, insurance saleswomen, store assistants, barbers, and poor retirees is almost a neorealist slice of modern Japan, showing the decided unglamorous side of the country. Through their eyes and voices, the book shifts between the past and present, slowly building a complete picture of victim and perpetrator. The author is not really concerned with the question of whodunnit, so much as whydunnit. There's only the merest nod to genre convention in terms of keeping the reader guessing as to who the killer is. The book is about the psychology behind the murder and conflence of influences that led to the act. One thing that's kind of nice about it is that it avoids both the familiar big city setting, as well as the really rural areas, instead finding a place of desperation among the medium towns, small cities, highways, and shabby love hotels of sourthernmost Japan. Desperation is probably the key to the novel, as so many of the characters are trying to escape the mundane routines they are stuck in, while the larger society sits ready to judge each and every one of them. It doesn't really work as a traditional crime novel, but as a portrait of modern Japan its well worth reading.Note: The cover has a really arresting design, but it's kind of an odd and misleading one, since there's no sign or mention of a gun in the story, nor are any bones involved in any way. Doesn't really capture the tone of the story at all.

  • Robyn Smith
    2018-12-03 18:00

    This novel presents a bleak picture of Japanese society today, with all the problems Western countries have experienced for years. However, it is written in a very interesting way, by revealing the murderer's identity during the course of the book,as well as describing the main characters and their alienation and loneliness, in relationships, particularly with families.I did find myself thinking about halfway through the book, oh no, not more new characters, but it was relevant and added to the story a little further on.It was depressing to discover the same one-upmanship among young women that is usually typical of men, when talking about their girlfriends - the lying and more lying to cover up the first lie, the jealousy about friends' appearance, all the common features of most Hollywood movies about women's friendships. It was also difficult to reconcile this with the groups of young Japanese women who come to NZ for three weeks during their summer holidays, to learn English at the language school I teach at. At what stage do they turn from giggling schoolgirls discussing the latest fashions (which in their case are rather weird!) to girls prostituting themselves at "love clubs"?The author doesn't seem to like Japanese men much either - they're either so far up themselves, they can't see daylight, or they're inarticulate, bumbling fools (although in one case the reason for this is clearly explained). Or they're head cases who exist by sucking up to the arrogant head-boy types.All in all, it doesn't sound highly recommended, but it is, really. The pace is good, the writing tight and the scenes at an abondoned lighthouse are very evocative. I'll be interested to read mor eof this writer's work.

  • Michael
    2018-12-11 22:52

    One morning in January 2006, the body of a female insurance saleswoman, Yoshino was found dead on Mitsue Pass. A young construction worker, Yuichi is arrested for her murder. Shifting perspectives, Villain tells the story of the events leading up to Yoshino’s murder and the aftermaths.Kosaku Yoshida is often considered as one of Japan’s best crime writers and as a fan of Japanese Lit, I knew I had to check one of his books out. However I was a little disappointed; the story was interesting but I was not a fan of the execution. I thought it builds up the suspense, then shifts perspective; which felt like it kept stopping and starting and that just felt too clunky. Yoshida explores the idea of alienation, which seems to be a common theme in Japanese fiction. This worked well, however this was not enough to redeem the novel for me.This review originally appeared on my blog; http://www.knowledgelost.org/book-rev...

  • Anh
    2018-11-26 17:57

    Thật lòng thì đến tận lúc đọc qua trang thứ 300, vẫn thấy đây là một câu chuyện không có gì mới mẻ, tính rate cho 2* rồi, cơ mà đọc đến đoạn gần về cuối và đến tận khi gấp sách lại, trong lòng lại nghĩ nếu mình không rate cuốn này 4* thì thật là dối lòng.Tình tiết hơi lòng vòng, hung thủ có tuổi thơ sứt sẹo đứt đoạn, bên cạnh vụ án chính đã dễ đoán hung thủ từ đầu thì đúng là hơi gây ngán ngẩm, nhưng hên mà tác giả cũng đã xây dựng thêm những tuyến nhân vật phụ Và, không phải chỉ nhờ vào hung thủ, các tuyến nhân vật phụ được chăm chút cẩn thận này là một điểm sáng to oành cho cả tác phẩm.Nạn nhân nữ nhận hậu quả nặng nề từ lối sống phù phiếm giả tạo.Kẻ thủ ác đường đường chính chính nằm ngoài sự phán xét của pháp luật nhưng lại là kẻ nhẫn tâm đáng bị lên án và khinh bỉ nhất. Người cha thương con gái bị giết hại nhưng cuối cùng lại bất lực trong ý muốn trả thù.Người phụ nữ già sống tới cuối đời mới tìm được sự dũng cảm cho bản thân sau lời động viên của người lái xe bus mà trước giờ bà ghét cay ghét đắng.Mà quan trọng hơn hết là tình yêu sét đánh đầy bi thương, khắc khoải và ám ảnh của nhân vật chính cùng cô gái mà anh ta tình cờ quen qua mạng với mục đích đùa vui ban đầu. Thứ tình yêu khiến anh ta nhận ra có tội thì phải trả giá, nhưng cái giá phải trả này lại quá đắt với anh ta, nhưng âu cũng là có làm có chịu.Tự nhiên tôi nhớ lại câu nói của người Nhật mà tôi đã từng đọc ở đâu đó rằng: Mỗi người đều mang trong mình ba bộ mặt. Cái thứ nhất bạn phô ra cho cả thế giới thấy. Cái thứ 2 bạn chỉ mang khi bên cạnh bạn thân và gia đình. Và cái cuối cùng bạn không bao giờ phô ra. Đó là tấm gương phản chiếu chân thật nhất rằng bạn là ai. - câu nói này hoàn toan đúng trong Ác Nhân. Từng nhân vật trong câu chuyện này đều giấu bộ mặt thật sau những lớp mặt nạ hàng ngày...Rồi cuối cùng kẻ ác cũng bị trừng phạt, nhưng động cơ gây án và cả hành trình trốn chạy của hung thủ chỉ khiến người đọc cảm thấy xót xa, cũng có một thời khắc nào đó tôi hi vọng anh ta có thể bỏ trốn trót lọt, bắt đầu lại mọi thứ từ đầu. Nhưng đời mà, cái ác thì phải bị trừng phạt, kẻ gây án phải trả giá, nhưng đâu đó vẫn có những sự trừng phạt quá nặng nề và những bất công đến phẫn nộ trong xã hội.Đọc xong toàn cuốn sách, bị ấn tượng nhất đoạn này - là đoạn độc thoại của cha nạn nhân khi ông đối mặt với kẻ đã gián tiếp gây nên cái chết cho con gái ông – và rồi, ông, cuối cùng đã quăng cây rìu sắt trước mặt hắn ta và bỏ đi:Bây giờ trên đời này có quá nhiều người chẳng coi ai là quan trọng cả. Những người như vậy đinh ninh rằng mình có thể làm được mọi thứ. Họ không có gì để mất, bởi vậy họ tưởng là họ mạnh mẽ. Chẳng có gì để mất và cũng chẳng muốn có thứ gì. Họ cho rằng họ là người dư dả, họ nhìn những người buồn vui vì mất thứ này, thêm thứ kia bằng ánh mắt khinh bỉ. Chẳng phải thế hay sao. Thật sự không được như thế đâu.

  • Maureen Lo
    2018-11-18 17:11

    I wonder what if Jay Rubin were to translate this book...hmmm.

  • Lenore Beadsman64
    2018-12-05 20:59

    l'uomo che andava a letto con la solitudineuna ragazza, di cui sappiamo dalla prima pagina che ha mentito alle sue amiche sul tipo che dice di frequentare, viene trovata morta, le amiche riferiscono in parte quello che sanno alla polizia e il ragazzo che era indicato come il suo amico è sparito da giorni...intanto un altro uomo che la frequentava comincia a entrare in agitazione, mentre la madre di questi e le sue vicine si mettono di punto in bianco a mentire alla polizia...giallo con un sottofondo di leggera tensione, mai realmente un thriller perchè si intuisce da subito quel che è accaduto, il cui unico pregio è quello di scavare a fondo nel senso di isolamento che il giapponese medio vive ogni giorno, le persone sono come ologrammi, nessuno va oltre il contatto occasionale e la cortesia rituale, i rapporti sono tutti di facciata, la ragazza, come anche lo studente che lei raccontava di frequentare, sono persone che fingono con tutti, le loro immagini proiettate hanno maggior consistenza della realtà, mentre il poveretto che viene coperto dalla famiglia è il classico giapponese solo e sfigato che cerca contatti attraverso un sito di incontri, la sua nuova amica è un'altra naufraga nella tempesta della solitudine e i due, più che innamorarsi in realtà finiscono per aggrapparsi l'uno all'altra per sfuggire al vuoto delle loro vite, salvo poi ridefinire il tutto a posterioriinsomma interessante, ma non è un thriller e nemmeno un giallo, è solo una storia di umana alienazione giapponese

  • Bắp
    2018-12-05 20:14

    3,5 sao Rất nhiều lần vô thức nghĩ tới Higashino Keigo trong quá trình đọc. Có thể do đây cũng là 1 cuốn có thiên hướng trinh thám - tâm lý xã hội (thực ra gọi là trinh thám thì khiên cưỡng cũng khá nhiều chút) hay do trong truyện có 1 nhân vật tên là Keigo. Tuy thế trình của bác hói này chắc phải gọi bác Keigo là bố tổ cụ :3Với 1 đứa "mê mấy thứ u ám" như mình thì 1 cuốn sách với những lời đề tựa ở bìa như này đơn giản là cực kỳ khó cưỡng, là không thể bỏ qua. "Một khảo cứu hấp dẫn về sự cô độc và nỗi tuyệt vọng", "...gây xúc động & xáo trộn về sự cô độc, dối trá cùng khoảng cách giữa hy vọng & hiện thực..." :3 Mấy lời này hơi quá. Nhưng chắc chắn nó không "quá" tới mức dở tệ như kiểu treo đầu dê bán thịt chó, nó treo đầu chó bán thịt cầy chắc luôn.Có 1 sự thật là với những lời đề tựa này thì mình mong chờ 1 cuốn có thể khiến mình đập đầu vào tường. Hay tại do mình kỳ vọng quá nhiều? Hoặc không...

  • Sam Still Reading
    2018-12-13 17:59

    Villain was one of the books I bought with a Christmas gift voucher. I am interested in Japanese fiction translated into English, enjoying Natsuo Kirino and Haruki Murakami to name a few. So when I saw another Japanese translated work on the shelf, I jumped on it immediately.Villain does not disappoint. It is a tightly woven thriller, linking together many disparate characters who are all somehow involved in the murder of a young lady on the creepy Mitsue Pass. It involves her friends, her (imagined) boyfriend, a boy she met on a dating website and various family members. One of these people is her murderer – but which one? Why was she killed?As I’ve found with other Japanese thrillers, this is exquisitely detailed. We have background into the characters and their settings, which are translated very well into English by Philip Gabriel. We know of Yuichi’s past, his grandmother’s problems and the girls he’s been seeing. We also know about his car and what he’s eaten for snacks. This may sound superfluous, but it’s not. We warm to Yuichi and the other characters, simply because we know so much about them. Yoshida paints a very clear picture of each scene – so much so that you can picture the characters and the setting in detail. The blurb on the inside cover of the book states that it’s part police procedural, but in my opinion it’s definitely not! There is little police involvement, and it is all from the characters’ viewpoint. The identity of the murderer also creeps up slowly on the reader. It’s very subtle, and I wondered how I could have missed the signs of who did it. Even more interesting, is the reasons why the murder was committed. One thing I won’t be doing is using any online dating sites any time soon! (A lot of the young characters use a particular online dating site, to try for romance in between work and family life. Is this a comment on the pressures of the Japanese youth of today, especially with the frequent use of love hotels in the narrative?) As is often the case with Japanese books, not everything is resolved but you can make a fairly educated guess as to what happens to some of the characters whose threads are left hanging. I really enjoyed this book as it had all the elements of a great thriller – taut and exciting. The insight into the young Japanese was an added bonus. I’ll be looking forward to reading more of Shuichi Yomada’s work.

  • Haiiro
    2018-12-03 14:53

    Đọc Ác nhân giống như chơi trò xếp hình (không phải JAV). Nhìn vào đống mảnh ghép, nhận ra được loáng thoáng đây là ngôi nhà, đây là khóm hoa, đây là hồ nước... nhưng ban đầu chưa biết phải ráp phần nào vào đâu. Một trò chơi quá thiếu yếu tố kích thích và giật gân, lại cần tỉ mỉ và cần nhiều thời gian.Những phần nhỏ nằm giữa các dấu sao trong phần đầu cuốn sách với một đống nhân vật phụ xuất hiện, đôi khi chả khác gì mấy mảnh ghép trắng tinh - xếp thì khó mà chả làm cảnh đẹp hơn - cứ làm tôi ngáp ruồi suốt mà băn khoăn không biết nó đóng vai trò gì trong câu chuyện. May thay tôi hơi cầu toàn, khá kiên nhẫn và cũng thích trò xếp hình đủ để theo đuổi bức tranh ghép bố cục hơi lộn xộn của Ác nhân; để nhận ra bức tranh khi hoàn thành trông cũng không tệ.Đọc Ác nhân cũng giống như thể đang chạy xe trong một đường hầm tối tăm.Hàng lô con số đã múa may quay cuồng trên đồng hồ kilomet, hàng đống thời gian đã nhảy nhót trôi qua mà bóng tối vẫn đặc quánh xung quanh, chẳng có dấu hiệu nào của ánh sáng mặt trời. Đó là lúc Yuichi vùng vẫy tuyệt vọng trong cái hố đen gã lỡ tay đào ra khi vòng tay bóp cổ Yoshino.Rồi lại có chút ánh sáng le lói. Đó là lúc gã, có lẽ là lần đầu tiên trong đời, được một cô gái thật lòng yêu.Nhưng niềm vui ngắn chẳng tày gang, ngay sau đó lại là một đường hầm khác. Đường hầm dài vô tận, đưa gã vào nơi vĩnh viễn bóng đêm. Là ngục tù. Có thể là cái chết.Đương nhiên gã phải trả giả cho tội ác gã gây ra. Tôi không kêu gào công lí cho Yuichi vì kết cục đó chính là công lí, mà tôi cũng chả lấy làm ưa gã lắm vì tác giả đâu cho tôi cơ hội được hiểu gã nhiều hơn. Tất cả những gì tôi biết ngoài cái tên, tuổi thơ bị mẹ bỏ rơi, tính cách nhạt nhẽo lại kì quặc... là chẳng gì cả.Vì vậy điều đáng tiếc ở đây chỉ là mọi chuyện đã có thể rất khác; và những kẻ trơ trẽn là nguồn cơn sâu xa của tội ác hoặc đã nằm sâu tan rữa dưới mấy lớp đất hoặc sẽ chẳng bị pháp luật vuốt gáy. Chỉ vậy thôi.Trên nhiều khía cạnh Ác nhân đều làm chưa tới. Dù vậy, đọc cũng được.Còn một chuyện khác là thế này. Tôi chúa ghét việc bê ngôn ngữ mạng, các thể loại khẩu ngữ mới phát sinh chưa được thời gian chọn lọc... vào văn học. Kiểu như là "như này" thay cho "như thế này", "cơ mà" thay cho "nhưng mà"... ấy.Trong cuốn này mấy cô nàng cứ "cơ mà" mãi, làm tôi bị ám thị luôn. Tuy "cơ mà" có trong từ điển nhưng nó là phương ngữ, không thích hợp với không khí của cuốn này tí nào.

  • Sharlene
    2018-12-14 14:58

    So the first couple of pages of Villain don’t exactly make you want to jump into the fray. Because it reads like a rather boring travel guide, written by somebody who is rather into transportation and roads. You can know all you need to know about the tolls for vehicles between Nagasaki and Fukuoka, Nagasaki and Hakata.I went along with it, and then comes the trigger. The last paragraph (of the first section) tells the reader of an arrest, of a crime, essentially spelling it out for you.And that’s the thing I realise about Japanese crime fiction, at least the three that I have read so far (Out, The Devotion of Suspect X). That it is not about the mystery, it’s not technically a whodunnit, because you already know whodidit. Because it’s right there in your face, in the first few sections, the first few pages even. These books are more about the ‘why’, and the effect the murders have – on the murderers themselves, the victim’s family and friends, the other suspects.Villain, by Shuichi Yoshida, brings out a different part of Japan, one of love hotels and online dating, and ageing seaside villages full of elderly residents. It is a quite ugly, rather lonely view of Japan.“The scenery flowing past changed, but they never seemed to get anywhere. When the interstate ended, it connected up with the prefectural highway, and past that were city and local roads. Mitsuyo had a road atlas spread out on the dashboard. She flipped through the maps and saw that the highways and roads were all color-coded. Interstates were orange, prefectural highways were green, local roads were blue, and smaller roads were white. The countless roads were a net, a web that had caught them and the car they were in.”Told from multiple viewpoints especially towards the end of the book, Villain shines when the focus is on the victim’s father, who struggles to come to terms with his daughter’s death, and his painful realisation that he didn’t really know his child at all.Villain was an engrossing, thought provoking read, and leaves you wondering, who – or perhaps what – is the real ‘villain’ here.

  • winnie
    2018-11-19 22:58

    WOW....what an AMAZING story. i'm a HUGE fan of japanese mysteries translated into english. it's been a long long time since i've read a book like "Villain" and felt the rush of a storyline that absorbs you completely. Shuichi Yoshida weaves a stellar cast of characters that leaves you entranced finding out more about how their relationships are all interwoven.at the heart of the story is a murder of an office lady who is found at the top of a haunted tunnel pass in japan. the story develops by introducing a whole cast of characters who are related to the story and switches narratives mid-chapters: Yuichi - a loner who seeks out companionship amongst his awkward ways, Mitsuyo - a salesgirl who lives life without much meaning until Yuichi comes into her life, Yoshino - the murdered girl whose shallow decisions in life causes her her life.Yoshida leaves you breathless and wanting more. even if you aren't a murder mystery thriller reader or even remotely interested in Japanese lit translated into English - this book will change your mind. don't wait, READ IT! it's officially my new fave book. P.S. This book was just made into a movie in Japan called "Akunin" and was just released in Sept 2010. Can't wait.

  • 4cats
    2018-11-16 15:13

    Fascinating novel which isn't just a crime novel. It looks at the victim, the murderer but also at their families and their friends. This isn't a novel where everything is 'black and white', the lines blur, the characters challenge you to understand them. Intelligent, interesting and it really makes you think.

  • fivethousandbooks
    2018-11-15 18:18

    This novel just didn't resonate well with me. I usually devour Japanese crime novels but reading this seemed like a chore and I had to speed read in the end to get it over and done with.

  • Mobyskine
    2018-11-16 20:12

    It started with a crime already took place and someone been caught and the story goes wandering around through each characters involved-- their point of views, emotions and thoughts, the hidden feeling and stories, testimonies.Love how it all goes. For each sub-chapter with different characters telling their stories, I was been hypnotized with the story-telling-- getting all emotional and heart-breaking, mad and unsatisfied, sympathy and hatred.I actually feel bad for Yuichi, for what he had to face since a very young age. I pitied Fusae a lot (and that herbal medicine salesman is totally making me angry at some point). I really think that Yoshino deserved that ending but somehow along the way when I read about Yoshio, I am all torn inside. The love of a father, the day he went to meet that college guy I am glad he took Koki's advise and leave. I am glad Satoko wearing that white barber's coat again. I am glad Yuichi realised what he had done. I am glad Fusae go and bought that orange scarf.A kind of noir, twists and playing with feeling a lot. Story was a bit dragging near the ending but it was all great though the ending somehow a bit undone. Love it anyway. 3.5 stars.

  • Hải Yến
    2018-11-14 21:20

    Đọc quyển này man mác thấy giống cách viết của bác Keigo nhưng dĩ nhiên bác ấy vẫn hơn một bậc.Nói vậy không có nghĩa là quyển này không hay, ngược lại còn khá thu hút.Mấy lời tựa phía sau sách thổi phồng hơi quá, cả tên quyển sách cũng vậy. "..và khi lương tri phải lên tiếng kêu cứu thì tiếng kêu đơn côi và tuyệt vọng ấy cũng lọt thỏm và chìm nghỉm giữa một xã hội san sát những bức tường ngăn cách dựng lên bởi lòng ích kỉ, dửng dưng và tư lợi.'' đọc xong mới biết có cái này nè.Vẫn là thương nhân vật nam chính cuối cùng phải chịu như vậy, nhưng đời mà, như vậy cũng là phải thôi.P/s 1: Vẫn phải khen bìa Nhã Nam đẹpP/s 2: Không hiểu ý của tác giả khi cho Yuichi nói cả hai bên đều không phải là nạn nhân về việc đòi tiền mẹ mình.

  • Rose Lemberg
    2018-11-25 17:55

    My spouse got this for me thinking it's a hardboiled detective novel (at least a thriller), but it was a literary novel about loneliness, despair, and alienation. The cover is striking but entirely misleading, as there are neither guns nor bones in the story. I wanted to read a hardboiled detective novel and would have probably given this a pass if I knew more about it before I began reading, but I would have missed out. It is haunting (even has some supernatural elements), memorable, and finely written.

  • Janeli
    2018-11-13 22:21

    *4.5 stars* Amazing story, filled with suspense and mystery! Might give a reread in the future

  • Hilmi Isa
    2018-12-13 18:12

    Sebelum saya memulakan ulasan yang lebih lanjut mengenai novel yang berasal dari Jepun (yang dialih bahasa kepada bahasa Inggeris) ini,terlebih dahulu saya ingin mengemukakan beberapa ciri unik yang terdapat di dalam novel yang bertajuk Villain,hasil tulisan Shuichi Yoshida. Pertama,novel yang mempunyai ketebalan 295 muka surat ini hanya mempunyai 5 buah bab sahaja! Walau bagaimanapun,setiap bab mempunyai sub-sub bab yang umpama menjadi checkpoints kepada sesuatu bab. Sub-bab tersebut ditanda dengan simbol kecil,yang jika diperhatikan,menyerupai rama-rama atau kupu-kupu. Kedua,novel ini mempunyai gaya penceritaan yang agak unik. Gaya penceritaan utama menggunakan 'Perspektif Orang Ketiga'. Namun,dalam beberapa keadaan,gaya penceritaan 'Perspektif Orang Pertama' juga digunakan,melalui kaca mata beberapa watak yang terkandung di dalamnya. Plot ceritanya juga tidak begitu teratur. Ini adalah ciri yang ketiga. Penulis,ada kalanya,akan secara mendadak melakukan flashback atau membincangkan sesuatu (yang keluar daripada konteks atau isi utama cerita) di dalam penceritaan yang sedang berjalan rancak. Namun,saya berpendapat,jalan ceritanya masih boleh difahami jika tumpuan dijana dengan baik ketika pembacaan.Sepanjang pembacaan saya,walaupun novel ini boleh dikategorikan sebagai crime-thriller,namun,fokus penceritaan utama yang ingin disampaikan oleh penulis adalah sisi kemanusiaan yang terdapat di dalam diri manusia itu sendiri. Terdapat beberapa babak yang menyentuh sisi tersebut. Malah,ada babak-babak tersebut sangat menyentuh perasaan (yang memberikan kesan secara peribadi kepada saya). Sebagai contoh,saya bersimpati dengan Yoshio Ishibashi,bapa kepada Yoshino Ishibashi yang mati dibunuh. Babak di mana dia singgah ke tempat anaknya ditemui mati dan meratapi kematian anaknya berjaya menyentuh perasaan saya. Semangat untuk meneruskan kehidupan,walaupun berhadapan dengan pelbagai cabaran hidup,merupakan antara mesej positif yang cuba disampaikan melalui novel ini.Saya sebenarnya berhasrat memberikan 5 bintang untuk novel ini. Namun demikian,memandangkan penamat novel ini tidak memuaskan hati saya,saya mengurangkan 1 bintang. Penamatnya meninggalkan tanda tanya kepada saya dan tidak menepati jangkaan saya. Umpama satu anti-klimaks kepada saya. Walaupun demikian,secara keseluruhannya novel ini amat menghiburkan saya ketika membacanya. Sudah semestinya saya akan terus mencari,membeli dan membaca novel-novel thriller Jepun (yang dialih ke bahasa Inggeris) kerana sememangnya novel-novel yang berasal dari negara matahari terbit amat berkualiti tinggi!

  • Bria
    2018-11-16 18:58

    This was a great thriller wrapped up in some poor translation. The translator is the same man who worked on some of Haruki Murakami and Natsuo Kirino, but for some reason this translation was not as well done. There were sentences that seemed awkward, not like they were grammatically incorrect, but like they just didn't make sense with modern ways of saying the same thing. The book seemed unnecessarily formal and as if it was a direct translation, (dog ate cat, notthedog atethecat). There were some pieces of conversation that I honestly couldn't imagine a young person saying. It was too formal and strangely worded. I love Japanese literature, but unfortunately this novel turned out to be a great story lost in translation.The thriller itself was well-paced and enthralling. I really enjoyed and was engrossed by the idea: was Yuichi really a Villain? Did he really love Mitsuyo and did he really kill Yoshino by accident? We will never know.

  • Hoàng Linh
    2018-12-14 14:53

    Lại một cuốn tiểu thuyết mô tả hiện thực Nhật bản, mình đã nghĩ rằng câu chuyện tình yêu của Yuichi và Mitsuyo là điểm sáng, là niềm hi vọng cho cái phông nền xám xịt của truyện nhưng mà đến những trang cuối cùng thì kỳ thực thấy cái thế giới mà tác giả xây dựng hoàn toàn đúng như nó từ đầu đến cuối : lạnh lùng, hờ hững, thiếu niềm tin ...

  • Richard Stuart
    2018-11-13 17:08

    Villain is a book that tells human truths in all their honesty and ugliness. It is well paced with nice characterizations and has a plot that illuminates the central character's soul so much that others around him are seen through its shinning brilliance. Note: you must read to the very end to savor this book's central psychological contradiction.

  • Karen
    2018-11-28 17:57

    I had no idea what to expect when I sat down to read VILLAIN, although the Japan Book News quote on the back of the book "... lays out a panorama of modern Japanese society, a patchwork composed of people of various classes and occupations..." really appealed. And the book most definitely did not disappoint.Intricate, telling, tightly woven, tense and yet somehow languid and flowing, VILLAIN was an outstanding read. Not just because of the way that the identity of the murderer slowly creeps up on you, but also because of the way the various voices of the characters grab the reader and hold your attention. I understand from a chat with a friend of mine that the original Japanese version may have used particular dialects or very individual voices for each of the characters that clearly transmits their origins / position in society. That aspect isn't as obvious in the English version, but there are still enough elements in the style to make you realise there are differences.VILLAIN is not a whodunnit nor is it a book about justice, revenge or resolution. It's more about the life choices that can quickly turn one person into a victim and another into a murderer. It's also a rather telling look at a lot of aspects of Japanese society - pressure on the young to conform, and how so many of those societal "norms" result in a quiet sort of despair - a longing for connection. It also shows how the stratas of society impact that. There are aspects of the life of the elderly which are held up to scrutiny as well - ultimately this is not a book which pulls much in the way of punches as it looks at the lives of most of the characters. Whilst this book is definitely a thriller, it's a slow burning, dark and quite moving. The action is pushed along in a series of chapters told in the different voices of the characters, frequently in differing timeframes as the reader is taken backwards and forwards before the death of Yoshino and after. Yoshino, a young woman strangely lost somewhere between her daytime job as an insurance saleswoman and her night-time activities which veer closely towards a sort of casual prostitution, but always with this clanging sense of a search for love, acceptance, connection. Her background of loving, albeit marginalised parents, is contrasted strongly by that of the man she meets via an on-line dating service. Yuichi is a young man with much to resent in his life. Dumped by his mother into the care of his grandparents as a very young child, he now works in construction and struggles with the role of support to those now ailing grandparents. Yuichi's expression of individuality is all in his car, his love life as bleak and opportunistic as Yoshino. These two somehow seem to be destined, in other ways you can feel the tension as both of them struggle against the reality of their likely fates versus their ultimate desires. An overwhelming reading experience that is really going to appeal to readers who like thoughtful, discomforting and quite confrontational reading, VILLAIN is one of those books that will stay with me.

  • Dion
    2018-11-14 22:05

    As an avid reader of Japanese literature, Villain struck a cord with me that I either never paid attention to with other books or never knew I had in the first place. Sure there have been several books that have moved me in various ways but with Villain the feeling is different.I didn't really empathize with any of the characters in any way, not Yoshio and his wife Satoko, not Yuichi, not Yoshino. Normally these characters leave an impression on me once I reach the last page but with this book that feeling never came. So why give it a 4/5 rating? Honestly while the characters themselves did nothing for me I found random statements by them to resonate with me very deeply. The characters were forgettable but the feelings conveyed were lasting. Example being Yuichi, a character for all intents and purposes many would say I have things in common with. Aloof, apathetic, distant, stoic. He cared for little and kept his expressions to a minimum. He was content on letting life pass him by, but one difference between us was his underlying anger at the world around him (though he rarely showed it), Yuichi was looking for something via women he met through email. Love, a connection, someone he could talk to and let down his walls around. In such a regard I could not relate to him. Later in the story another character is introduced Koki whom I felt the most for, while he was a minor character I could sort of understand some of his feelings. Yoshio summed up Koki pretty accurately in which he said (paraphrasing) that not every loner is lonely, they meet with someone when they want to speak about something then retreat back to their world, not because they're lonely but because they couldn't care less about the world around them. Taken as a whole the main crux of this story is loneliness, much less the idea of murder. Everyone in the story is battling some kind of loneliness. Yoshino longed for the perfect guy and resorted to online email dating just to get quick pleasure to replace the emptiness she felt. She longed for a guy who had no interest in her and she could not have, so other men were used to fill that void. Yuichi was unsure exactly what he wanted or what made him happy and that caused internal struggle for him, he had abandonment issues via his mother and he never fully recovered from my perspective. Fusae dreaded the idea of losing her husband and fearing slightly that Yuichi would one day move away and like her daughters rarely speak to her. Mitsuyo was tired of her monotonous life, much like Yoshino she was waiting for her perfect guy to save her from her boring life of working in retail, she felt she had no future.I guess this is less of a review and more of an analysis of the characters in the story. I don't really like writing reviews or criticizing writers who are leagues better than me unless the book was THAT bad (but if a book is that bad I won't even finish it tbh). I'm a big Shuichi fan so I would be biased in my reviewing of this book. I suggest getting the book (or renting it) and forming your own conlusion.

  • Linh Bún
    2018-11-22 15:54

    A boy who was abandoned by his mom.A girl who never found love.A dad who lives for his daughter. A grandma who hopes for courage. And the heartless, the ignorant, the indifferent, the ungrateful, the depressed, the socially awkward, the unconfident, the insignificant...All the people appeared in this story gave a piece, or all, of their lives, to demonstrate the lives of thousands others in the society. There are social issues, generations gap, reckless lifestyles, materialism, crimes, and more in this book. I thought this was another sad book. It was lonely, and I felt like everyone's voices just got lost in the middle of the cruel modern society. Until somewhere half way through, their stories start to change. Maybe it was the part about that first time Mitsuyo got a stranger to fill the emptiness of her heart. Maybe it was when Yoshio hopelessly drove to the place where his daughter got killed. What kind of society that a person is only heard and believed when he tells the story of how he murdered a girl? What kind it is, when a girl grew up in love to be an ungrateful person dreaming of a life she doesn't want to work for, and putting herself out there for money? What kind of society in which people can only find connections through the virtual world, and the majority of unlucky, average, insignificant people are oppressed by the minority of rich, arrogant, and ignorance? It's the kind we're living in. However, there is one thing that makes the whole thing worth my sleepless night. And one thing that remains unchanged throughout the whole story. It's unconditional love. If you have to learn about unconditional love, might as well learn it from the father who always believes his daughter is innocent, from the women who spent her life trying to make a home for the abandoned grandson, from the silly girl who ran away with a murderer hoping for just one more day, or the guy who made himself a sick disgusting murderer in public's eye to protect his lover. I don't compare this book with works of Higashino Keigo, because although sharing similar social themes, they take different approaches and give different perspectives. Higashino's keeps you on the edge to decode the mystery, when Yoshida's walks you through the backstage of the crime scene.

  • David Haws
    2018-12-07 19:16

    Shelby Foote noted a nearly universal desire on the part of young, white, southern boys from his generation: to be at Seminary Ridge before the flags were unfurled—and somehow exact a different ending than what inevitably followed Pickett’s Charge. In the beginning of a new relationship, we all hold onto a similar, grim belief that somehow with us, this time, things will end differently. Villain explores the gap between what we want in our relationships, and what we get. As a species, we are basically a loose collection of individual egos. Other species are as well, but our level of self-awareness makes this species-life isolation, at times, unbearable. We form families so we don’t have to be alone. When we’re not in a family, or when the family we’re in fails to abate our loneliness, it’s hard to care about much of anything else. Even though we know that family and friendship connections will all, inevitably, evaporate (if only at death) we look for connections, and our optimism is often boundless.But the novel is heavy-handed. Yoshida’s use of imagery (like the crow pecking at a sack of garbage) to relate unrelated-but-contiguous sections of the narrative, became annoying. The writing is overly prescriptive in places, and the shifts in narrative POV seem schizophrenic. There’s not much in Villain, other than the story (although I did like way Yoshida introduced different kinds of Japanese foods, and I found myself Googling to see what they were).When I read in a genre that I don’t particularly enjoy, there has to be something else to keep me going. For example, I don’t particularly care for the “murder-mystery” genre, but I love Raymond Chandler because there is always something extra in the language. The automotive industry calls this a “hidden delight,” like the un-advertised cargo-netting in the Ford Taurus (prospective buyers would open the trunk, see the cargo-netting, think how cool it was, and buy the car). Villain doesn’t have any “hidden delights,” and I’m wondering if the title might have been mistranslated into English; maybe “Villains” would be more appropriate. When you’re clinging to the hope of an impossible rescue (it seems like most of the characters are) failure makes everyone seem a villain.

  • Shravan Bendapudi
    2018-11-13 17:19

    Although this is my first Japanese crime novel, this book continues my current love affair with translated Japanese literature - Haruki Murakami, Ryu Murakami, Banana Yoshimoto and the ilk. What I love about the books these guys write is that there is so much earnestness and so much heart in all the characters they write out ... you can make out the care that the authors take in carving out these people each mundane day-to-day action to the next. Never flash, never resorting to pizzazz to hold your interest, they are shining examples of how characters carry a story forward.And it's no different in this book - every turn the story takes is based on a critical decision by the characters in the book and each decision rings true - which is a magnificent feat. In all honesty, I started out the book thinking it would be a whodunnit, but it isn't. And I was still completely hooked - whether it be the patient plot build up that goes through a significant portion of the book to the hectic climax... this is a book that moves you right till the end and then leaves you thinking once you've put it down ....My personal wish is that this is made into a movie - and that it is directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ... It's his kind of story and I would love to see how he visualizes the book's poetry set in the ugly, tired and jaded corners of modern Japan.

  • Gerald Kinro
    2018-12-08 22:16

    Yoshino Ishibashi, a young insurance sales woman is found dead aat a mountain pass in Kyushu, Southern Japan. Yuichi Shimizu, a 27 year old construction worker with a troubled past becomes the prime suspect. In the meantime, Yuichi befriends Mitsuyo who like Yoshino, is lonely and wanting for love and acceptance. In this uniquely plotted work, Yoshida creates a noir mystery where it is not the police or the authorities who solve the crime first, but the reader. In fact there is very little scenes with policemen. Instead, the book is comprised with encounters and relations of the victim before her death, the suspect before and after the crime, and Mitsuyo as she becomes heavily involved with Yuichi. The tension is created by the reader’s concern for her. This book is worth the read, for it brings to light the loneliness felt by some of Japan’s young people—their world of fantasy dates, online relationships, and love hotels. I felt that the main flaw of the work was that despite Yoshida’s creation of a complex character in Yuichi, I could not feel any like for him. Still I enjoyed the work.

  • Syl
    2018-11-27 21:54

    3.5 starter -better than average, but something missing to pass it with distinction. And here, the something was the ambiguity as to the ending, and the thought process that went behind the violence. A girl who likes finding online dates and make them pay for favors, is found strangled near a lonely highway pass,and her middle class parents are devastated. Soon dirty secrets emerge, and the suspects narrow down to two of her recent boyfriends - both of whom had interactions with her on the fatal day. Another girl enters the scene, this one who attempts online dating not for money, but only for assuaging her loneliness. The lives of all those who are immediately affected is chalked out, and finally the Villain is apprehended. Loved reading the book. Would recommend it to anyone who likes mysteries with character development.