Title: Evil and the Mask
Author: Fuminori Nakamura
First published January 1, 2010
356 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 9781616952129 (ISBN10: 1616952121)
Evil and the Mask is a thrilling literary masterpiece by award-winning Japanese author Fuminori Nakamura. This electrifying tale follows the life of Fumihiro Kuki, who was raised to be a harbinger of chaos by his wealthy family.
From a young age, Fumihiro is taught to cause destruction and spread misery with no consequences. With his hedonistic education and the support of his family’s fortune, Fumihiro is granted the freedom to live out his darkest fantasies, no matter the cost.
However, as he grows older, Fumihiro begins to question the morals his family has instilled in him, and he decides to resist his father’s mandate. Evil and the Mask delves into the depths of human depravity and explores the powerful instinct to resist evil.
About the Author
Kenzaburō Ōe is a celebrated author with several notable accomplishments. In 2002, his debut novel Jū (The Gun) received the Shinchō New Author Prize.
He went on to win the Noma Prize for New Writers in 2004 for his work Shakō (The Shade). In 2005, he was awarded the prestigious Akutagawa Prize for Tsuchi no naka no kodomo (Child in the Ground).
In 2010, his novel Suri (Pickpocket) was honored with the Ōe Kenzaburō Prize. Ōe’s other notable works include Sekai no Hate (The Far End of the World), Ōkoku (Kingdom), and Meikyū (Labyrinth).
For more information, please refer to his bibliography.
In “Evil and the Mask,” Fuminori Nakamura explores the intersection of power and morality in a thrilling blend of crime and psychological fiction. First published in 2010, the book has gained critical acclaim in Japan and beyond, cementing Nakamura’s reputation as a master of dark fiction.
The story follows Fumihiro Kuki, a young man who grapples with the legacy of his sinister father and the shadowy organization that seeks to control his destiny. As Fumihiro navigates a maze of secrets and lies, he must reconcile his own desires with the expectations of those around him, all the while struggling to uncover the truth about his family’s past.
Nakamura’s writing is spare and haunting, capturing the bleak beauty of Tokyo’s seedy underbelly with unflinching clarity. Themes of identity, memory, and the human cost of ambition permeate the narrative, as characters trade their souls for a chance at power and pay the price for their choices.
While the book’s deliberate pacing may be off-putting to readers looking for a fast-paced thriller, it rewards patient readers with a richly layered story that raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of evil and the forces that drive us to do terrible things. One weakness of the book is the occasional tendency to rely on clichd characters and plot devices, such as the loyal sidekick and the inevitable twist at the end.
However, Nakamura’s skillful prose and artful manipulation of the reader’s expectations more than compensate for these minor flaws. Overall, “Evil and the Mask” is a gripping and thought-provoking novel that will linger in readers’ minds long after they’ve turned the final page.
Fans of dark crime fiction and psychological thrillers will find much to appreciate in Nakamura’s deftly crafted tale. Rating: 4/5 stars.
While not a flawless masterpiece, “Evil and the Mask” is a compelling and well-executed story that is sure to satisfy fans of the genre.