By Miyuki Miyabe
Published by Kodansha International
on July 1, 1992
Cover image and summary from Goodreads:
Here is a deftly written thriller that is also a "deep and moody" (New York Times Book Review) journey through the dark side of Japan's consumer-crazed society. Ordinary people plunge into insurmountable, personal debt and fall prey to dangerous webs of underground creditors -- so dangerous, in fact, that murder may be the only way out. A beautiful young woman vanishes, and the detective quickly finds she is not whom she claimed to be. Is she a victim, a killer, or both? In a country that tracks its citizens at every turn, how can two women claim the same identity and then disappear without a trace?
This was a novel that, despite its at-times slow pace, I managed to read quite quickly.
I was intrigued by the story because I haven’t read much Japanese literature, and I’d heard that this was a great novel that won some awards in Japan when it was published. I think I was expecting a twistier, fast-paced mystery, but I liked the way this story unfolded and its examination of credit and consumer cultures (and although this was written in 1992, I think much of that is still relevant here today).
I was disappointed with the way the story ended. It felt too sudden, or unfinished, and left me with a lot of questions.
Overall, this was definitely an interesting read, but it didn’t grip me, nor did the characters make a strong impression on me. There was something to the story and the writing, though, that kept me reading even when the plot itself wasn’t quite holding my interest. Recommended.