Friday, November 21, 2008

No. 38 - Battle Royale

by Koushun Takami

Started: November 21
Finished: November 29

Notes: Though almost unknown in the U.S., "Battle Royale" has been quite the phenomenon in Japan the last ten years. I've seen the Japanese movie, and thought it brilliantly disturbing in its portrayal of violence, especially violence among young people (mainly 15-year-olds). So, this story obviously isn't for everyone. The plot is sort of a government-enforced "Lord of the Flies" story, but it's much more sinister than that, pitting junior high students in a death match against one another in which there will be only one winner/survivor. Yes, it sounds outlandish. But it's also very pulpish and very Japanese (I mean that in a good way). I like the movie so much, I was quite thrilled to snag up the original novel upon which the movie (and its sequels and the manga series) is based. This is an English translation, of course.

Mini review: Overly violent. Deeply disturbing. Yet a masterpiece of modern pulp fiction. By far and away the most entertaining novel I've read in some time. Definitely not for everyone, but writers of horror and other dark materials should read this and study it.

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