Book Review – Piercing by Ryu Murakami

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Some books are unrelenting rays of sunshine, filling you with joy, optimism and hope for the future….. and then there is Piercing, a two-hundred-page miasma of darkness and human misery.

It’s not so much a “horror” story per se, with most of the true horror being in Kawashima and Chiaki’s mistreatment as children, and how it continues to warp and destroy their lives as adults – Kawashima’s homicidal fantasies and Chiaki’s self-destructiveness collide into a corrosive mess after they meet by chance.

There are a lot of parallels to his earlier book, Coin Locker Babies in that the characters have a lot of pent-up rage and agony from childhood that never could be vented or gotten justice for.
Ryu (not Haruki, do not confuse them) Murakami’s artistic writing style, with its fractured pacing, is like a bandage being torn off slowly and with a great deal of tension, as if you’re not sure whether it will reveal a gaping wound or a small cut. Ultimately, it is both – Piercing paints a portrait of a wound which seems small on the surface, but runs bone-deep.

General Rating – 4/5

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