Shuichi Yoshida Villain

ISBN 13: 9780099526650

Villain

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9780099526650: Villain

A young woman is brutally murdered on a remote mountain road. A young construction worker, Yuichi, is on the run - but is he guilty? This is the dark heart of Japan; a world of seedy sex hotels and decaying seaside towns; a world of loneliness, violence and desperation. As the police close in on Yuichi and his new lover, the stories of the victim, the murderer and their families are uncovered. But these men and women are never what they appear to be...

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About the Author:

Shuichi Yoshida was born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1968. He is the author of numerous books and has won many Japanese literary awards, including the Akutayawa Prize for Park Life, and the prestigious Osaragi Jiro Prize and the Mainichi Publishing Culture Award, both of which he received for Villain. Several of his stories have been adapted for Japanese television, and a film based on Villain was released in 2010 in Japan as Akunin. Yoshida lives in Tokyo.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Yuichi turned on the overhead light in his car and angled the rearview mirror toward him. In the darkness the reflection of his face was indistinct. He moved his head from side to side, combing his fin­gers through his hair. His hair was soft and feline; the fine strands flowed through his rough fingers.
 
In the spring of last year, Yuichi had dyed his hair for the first time in his life. He dyed it a brown that almost appeared black, and when none of the guys on his construction site noticed, he dyed it a lighter brown, then even lighter the next time, until finally now, a year and a half later, his hair was nearly blond.
 
Since the change in hair color was so gradual, no one kidded him about it. Only once did another worker, Nosaka, laugh and say, “Hey, since when are you a blond?” His blond hair went well with his skin, tanned from outdoor work, so perhaps that explained the lack of teasing.
 
Yuichi was not a flashy guy, though when he went to Uniqlo and other inexpensive clothing stores to buy sweatshirts and sweatpants, he always wound up going for bright colors, reds and pinks. He would tell himself he’d get something subdued, black or beige, something that didn’t show dirt easily, but when he got to the store and stood in front of the racks of clothes, for some reason he’d reach for the brighter colors. It’s only going to get dirty anyway, he told himself.
 
His old chest of drawers at home was stuffed full of similar sweat­shirts and T-shirts, all of them with threadbare collars, frayed sleeves, the cloth all worn out. All of this made the colors stand out even more, like colors in a deserted theme park. He liked these old sweat­shirts and T-shirts, though, because they absorbed the sweat and grease well, and the more he wore them the more they felt like part of his skin, a feeling he found liberating.
 
Yuichi leaned forward and looked again in the rearview mirror. His hair was in place. His eyes were slightly bloodshot, but at least the pimple between his eyebrows was gone.
 
Until he graduated from high school, Yuichi was the type of boy who never combed his hair. He wasn’t on any sports team, but every couple of months he’d go to the neighborhood barbershop and get a buzz cut.
 
Around the time he started attending an industrial high school, the barber had sighed and said, “Yuichi, pretty soon I bet you’re going to get all particular about your hair, telling me how to cut it.” The huge mirror in the barbershop reflected a young boy, tall and skinny, who was far from being very masculine.
 
“If you have anything special you want me to do, let me know, okay?” said the barber. The barber liked to sing enka, and he made his own recordings, posters for which were plastered on the wall.
 
But Yuichi had no idea what anything special meant when it came to hair. He had no idea where to begin. Until he graduated from high school, Yuichi always got his hair cut at this shop. After­ward, he worked for a short time at a small health food store, and then, after he quit, just hung out at home. A former classmate invited him to work at a karaoke box place, but within half a year the place closed down and he took a series of short-term jobs, at a gas station for a few months, then at a convenience store. And before he knew it he was twenty-three.
 
It was around that time that he started working in construction. He was considered more of a day laborer than a regular employee, but since the owner of the company was a relative, he earned more than he would have otherwise. He’d been working with this com­pany now for four years. Yuichi liked the irregularity of the work, how they worked in good weather and didn’t when it rained.
 
Fewer and fewer cars passed in front of the park. It had become so quiet that the presence of the young couple two cars ahead of him, who had driven away quite some time ago, still lingered.
 
And right then he spotted Yoshino walking, not so quickly, down the path that ran parallel to the park. Yuichi had been cleaning his nails under the interior light in his car.
 
He gave his horn a light tap. Surprised by the sound, Yoshino stopped for a moment.
 
 
***
 
On Monday morning, December 10, 2001, Sari woke up five minutes ahead of her alarm, a rare occurrence. Sari was not a morning per­son, and when she was living with her parents in Kagoshima City, almost every morning her mother got upset when she wouldn’t get up on time. Even after Sari moved out and started living in Fukuoka, her mother would occasionally call her to remind her to get up.

Part of the reason she had trouble getting up was that she couldn’t fall asleep easily. Back when she was still in school she’d go to bed early, but as soon as she closed her eyes, her mind started replaying conversations she had had with her friends. If only I’d said this to her, she’d think. If only I’d come back to the classroom earlier. She couldn’t help worrying about all the little things that happened. A lot of people do this, of course, but in Sari’s case her regret over trivial events of the day would, before she realized it, balloon into the same imaginary scenario.
 
It was hard to explain what this scene was, exactly. She had just entered junior high and was in bed one night when it popped into her mind, and ever since, no matter how much she’d try not to think of it, it came to her as she struggled to sleep.
 
The time period wasn’t clear, perhaps the late 1920s or early ’30s. In this mental scene Sari was locked up in a cramped room, a pho­tograph of an actress clutched in her hands. Sometimes in the pho­tograph the actress wore Western clothes like a pinup film star; at other times it was a newspaper clipping, an ad for what appeared to be the actress’s new movie. Sari had no idea who the actress was, but she did know that in her fantasy she was ragingly, overwhelmingly jealous of this woman. Through the latticed window, she sometimes saw gallant young soldiers marching down a cherry-tree-lined street; sometimes she heard the shouts of children throwing snowballs at each other.
 
In this fantasy, Sari always felt irritated. If only I could get out of this room, she thought, then she would be able to take the actress’s place in the movie. Her fantasy had no plot, no other characters. Just this one protagonist, Sari’s alter ego, whose feelings became her own when Sari couldn’t sleep.
 
Just before her alarm buzzed, Sari reached out and turned it off. It hadn’t rung, but she felt as if she could hear it. She flipped open her cell phone to see if there were any messages from Yoshino, but there were none.
 
She got out of bed and opened the curtains. From her third-floor window she had a nice view of Higashi Park bathed in the early morning sunshine.
 
Last night, just before twelve, she’d phoned Yoshino, certain she’d be back by then, but there was no answer.
 
Yoshino’s phone had rung but eventually gone to voice mail, so Sari had hung up and gone out on the veranda to peer down at Yoshino’s apartment, which was directly beneath hers. The lights weren’t on. If she really had met up with Keigo and come home afterward, twelve was too early for her to have gone to sleep.
 
Flustered, Sari had then decided to phone Mako, who sounded as if she was brushing her teeth when she answered the phone.
 
“So Yoshino isn’t back yet?” Sari asked her.
 
“Huh?”
 
“Didn’t she say something about coming back right away? But I just called her cell and she didn’t pick up.”
 
“Maybe she’s taking a shower?”
 
“But her light’s off.”
 
“So maybe she’s still with Keigo.”
 
Mako sounded like she couldn’t be bothered, so Sari just let it be.
 
“She’ll be back soon. Did you want something?” Mako asked her.
 
“No, not really . . .” Sari replied and hung up.
 
No, she didn’t have anything else she wanted to ask Mako. Instead, the sound of Yoshino’s footsteps, fading as she walked toward the darkened park, came back to her.
 
Normally Sari wouldn’t have given it another thought, but after she took a shower and went back to bed, she was still concerned. She knew she was being a pest, but she called Yoshino’s cell phone one more time. This time, though, the call went immediately to voice messaging, as if the phone had been turned off. Right as it did, Sari pictured Keigo’s condo in front of Hakata station. Feeling foolish, she tossed the cell phone aside.
 
That morning Sari arrived at her company’s Hakata branch, also in front of Hakata station, just in time for the eight-thirty morning meeting. Normally she rode her bicycle for the one-kilometer com­mute to the office, but today, just as she was straddling the bike, Mako—who usually commuted by subway to the company’s Seinan branch—called out to her. “I’ve got to stop by the Hakata office,” Mako told her, so Sari decided to take the subway, too.
 
As they were walking to the station Sari asked, “So, have you heard from Yoshino?”
 
“Yoshino? She hasn’t come back?” Mako asked, mellow as usual.
 
“She never answered her cell.”
 
“Then I suppose she must have stayed overnight at Keigo’s. She’ll go to work from there.”
 
...

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Shuichi Yoshida
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ISBN 10: 0099526654 ISBN 13: 9780099526650
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Descrizione libro Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A young woman is brutally murdered on a remote mountain road. A young construction worker, Yuichi, is on the run - but is he guilty? This is the dark heart of Japan; a world of seedy sex hotels and decaying seaside towns; a world of loneliness, violence and desperation. As the police close in on Yuichi and his new lover, the stories of the victim, the murderer and their families are uncovered. But these men and women are never what they appear to be. Codice libro della libreria AAZ9780099526650

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Shuichi Yoshida
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Descrizione libro Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A young woman is brutally murdered on a remote mountain road. A young construction worker, Yuichi, is on the run - but is he guilty? This is the dark heart of Japan; a world of seedy sex hotels and decaying seaside towns; a world of loneliness, violence and desperation. As the police close in on Yuichi and his new lover, the stories of the victim, the murderer and their families are uncovered. But these men and women are never what they appear to be. Codice libro della libreria AAZ9780099526650

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Descrizione libro Vintage, 2011. Condizione libro: New. 2011. Paperback. A young woman is brutally murdered on a remote mountain road. A young construction worker, Yuichi, is on the run - but is he guilty? As the police close in on Yuichi and his new lover, the stories of the victim, the murderer and their families are uncovered. But these men and women are never what they appear to be. Translator(s): Gabriel, Philip. Num Pages: 304 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 205 x 172 x 20. Weight in Grams: 214. . . . . . . Codice libro della libreria V9780099526650

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Descrizione libro Vintage. Condizione libro: New. 2011. Paperback. A young woman is brutally murdered on a remote mountain road. A young construction worker, Yuichi, is on the run - but is he guilty? As the police close in on Yuichi and his new lover, the stories of the victim, the murderer and their families are uncovered. But these men and women are never what they appear to be. Translator(s): Gabriel, Philip. Num Pages: 304 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 205 x 172 x 20. Weight in Grams: 214. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Codice libro della libreria V9780099526650

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