Book Review: Confessions by Kanae Minato

CONTENT WARNING: MIDDLE SCHOOL!!

Last week, my book club chose to read the book Confessions by Kanae Minato. I went into this book knowing only that it was by a Japanese author.

The story Minato has woven together is one of passion and murder in a Japanese schoolyard.

Confessions is a Rashomon-style story where a few different narrators come together to describe the same event, just from different points of view.

Two middle school students brutally murder a four-year old. Here, we have a somewhat epistolary story about the events and motivations surrounding the murder. Each point of view is different and the story adds some bit of knowledge to the previous one. The end is as satisfying an ending as I’ve seen.

One thing that really stood out to me in this story is the concept of a hikikomori. One of the students is said to be a hikikomori, a self-imposed hermit.

This is the second time I’ve come across this concept. The first time was in Persona 5 Royal with the confidant, Futaba Sakura. When you meet her, Futaba has essentially barricaded herself in her room since her mother died and it’s up to you as the protagonist of the video game to rescue her by helping her change her heart (but that’s another story, isn’t it? ;) ).

I guess, while I’m an extroverted introvert and I can understand not leaving the house for long periods of time, I have problems with the complete reliance on someone else to bring me food and drink. I can’t imagine holing myself up in a single room and never going out anywhere. And then when I wonder aloud whether this is a purely Japanese concept, someone pipes up and says he knows someone who’d fit that description and who is not Japanese. So, I suppose it’s not.

I really enjoyed this book and this type of storytelling. I enjoyed the revenge aspects and how they were specifically intended to hurt the person they were supposed to.

Definitely a thumbs up.

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Kari J. Wolfe

Never-ending student in the realms of writing fiction/nonfiction and telling stories. Hopeless wannabe equestrian learning from a distance.