"Wow." That was the first thought I had after finishing this book. I had read books in which the same event was shown from multiple perspectives before, but never one quite so dark.
Summary: On the last day of school before Spring Break, a teacher makes a special announcement to her class: her little girl was murdered, by two of the students in her class (whom she calls Boy A and Boy B). The rest of the novel explains the how and why of the event from the viewpoints of people directly and indirectly involved with the murder.
Plot & Characters: Reading this novel was like watching a train wreck: I knew it would end badly, yet it was hard to stop reading. Throughout the book, it shows many different viewpoints of the same events, each time showing a little more of what happened. Yet we can never be quite sure who is telling the truth about what, as all of the characters narrating might have something to hide.
To tell the truth, it wasn't an easy read (and I'm not talking about the Japanese here). There was a dark, foreboding atmosphere which filled all the pages. It wasn't quite like a horror novel, and the identity of the murderers was shown too early for it to be much of a mystery novel. It had the air of a dark ghost story without the ghost.
Prose & Readability: The book begins with the teacher's "confession" but if you can make it through that, the parts told by the students are much easier. The book was a pretty quick read, and I wouldn't say the prose is hard, but it is less straightforward than some other books I've read. I would recommend waiting to read this until after you've read a few novels.
Adaptations:The book has been made into a film (which I intend to review on my other blog soon), and a manga version.
Who I would recommend this to: Those who like dark stories, or ghost stories.
牛乳を飲み終わった人から、紙パックを自分の番号のケースに戻して席に着くように。 全員飲み終わったようですね。「終業式の日まで牛乳かよ」なんて声も聞こえましたけどミルクタイムも本日で終了です。お疲れさまでした。 「来年はないのか？」ありません。本年度このS中学校は『厚生労働省・全国中高生乳製晶促進運動』のモデル校に指定されていました。 そのため、みんなに毎日、牛乳を二〇〇ミリリットルずつ飲んでもらっていたのです。 四月の身体測定では、身長の伸び率も骨密度も、同年齢の全国平均を上回っているのではないでしょうか？ 楽しみですね。 「自分たちは実験台か？し確かに、お腹が少しゆるめだったり牛乳嫌いな子にとっては災難な年だったかもしれません。
The first paragraph is provided for readers to help judge for themselves whether a book is a good fit for their current level, and is presented with all furigana shown in the actual book.