Publication date – 14 April 2014
Translated by Emily Boyce
“In a house on a suburban street in Nagasaki, meteorologist Shimura Kobo lives quietly on his own. Or so he believes. Food begins to go missing. Perturbed by this threat to his orderly life, Shimura sets up a webcam to monitor his home. But though eager to identify his intruder, is Shimura really prepared for what the camera will reveal? This prize‐winning novel is a moving tale of alienation in the modern world.”
3 of 5 stars
I received a surprise copy of this book from the publishers and have provided here an honest review.
This short novella is tells the tale of Shimura Kobo who begins to notice that food is going missing from his house. Because he lives on his own he finds this obviously disturbing and sets up a webcam to catch the thief in action. What he discovers is more than he could have imagined.
Before I started this book the synopsis rang a vague bell. This is because it is based on a true story of an incident in Japan in 2008.
Shimura san is a strange character. He lives alone, a situation which at first appears to be by design but which becomes apparent is something he is not entirely happy with. He likes his routine, to sit in the same tram seat, eat the same food, have items in their proper place. The solitary life of Shimura helps add to the atmosphere of the novel, giving a slightly creepy element to the first half.
The discovery of who is behind the thefts makes Shimura question himself. He feels angry, angry at the intruder, at himself and at the women in his past who have rejected him, leading him to examine his life.
This is a story that can easily be read in a sitting or two. Whilst I did like the book I would have perhaps liked to have a bit more of a conclusion, a little bit more information on the characters involved but it did want me to go back and read the news reports of the real event it is based on.