Another book that has been on my TBR for absolutely ages and yet I have not gotten round to reading. The translation of Taichi Yamada’s ‘Strangers’ is a beautifully sparse ghost story that wasn’t what I was expecting at all.
Middle aged, uninspired and divorced Harada has just moved into a new building complex. Strangely hardly anyone else has instead using it mainly for office space leaving him and one other person in the building during the nights. The other permanent tenant is Can Kei a strange woman who screams of mystery and seems highly depressed and hiding a huge scar.
One day Harada is watching comedy whiling away the hours he can’t script write when he sees his father, who has been dead for years. Soon enough they strike up conversation and before he knows it he is eating dinner inside a flat his dead parents are living in, they haven’t aged they look just like they did when they died. This reappearance soon starts to affect his health and the life seems to be being drained from him, but being such a loner who can help, can the strange loner Can Kei possibly be the one to save his soul?
I have to say I really enjoy Chinese and Japanese fiction and this though a slightly slow starter became a gripping and quite dark and frightening novel with an ending that I wouldn’t have guessed in a million years… well I might have. If you like films like ‘The Ring’ then this thriller meets ghost story should be right up your street. A great short satisfying modern ghost story.