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Taut, gritty, sexy, and harrowing, The Devil of Nanking is an incomparable literary thriller set in one of the world's most fascinating cities-Tokyo-from an internationally best-selling author.
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By Alicia A. Jenson on 08-27-05
The Best of Britain's Mystery Writers
Though this book does not continue the story begun in Birdman and Treatment (that title will be out in early 2006), Hayder's book about a socially disabled and obsessed woman in Japan has her trademark clarity and beautiful ability to bring character and setting to life. Since Hayder was once a hostess in a Japanese club, she certainly knows what she's writing about, and this book is a mystery within a mystery that will keep you wondering what is really going on.
Like Birdman and Treatment, Hayder is able to mesh multiple storylines into one coherent narrative that will keep you from turning off your audible.
Try her out, Hayder is definatly one of Britain's best mystery writers.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
By Paul on 05-22-06
Girl, Interrupted Meets Tojo
I enjoyed this rather strange tale of a young English girl who, when she was even younger, read an account of the Japanese invasion of China, and of the Rape of Nanking in particular. A particularly horrible event stays with her and the people around her think she's daft (and they're not far off the mark). She goes to Japan to search for a film of this horrible event and resolve the inner conflict that was created when she read the account of the incident in Nanking. I don't want to give away the ending, but it is shocking -- even to someone whose jaded modern sensibilities are immune to all manner of illegitimi carborundum. The story is interesting, but I found it hard to get over questions about the protagonist's (i.e., the young lady's) motivation in this story. Her behavior verges toward self-destruction on more than one occasion, and I didn't think she had enough reason to do so. The event was terrible, but it's hard to believe that she built her life around it. I had the impression that the author was trying to create a parallel between the girl and some notion of the Japanese national character. If so, I'm not sure it worked.
The narration (by two narrators) is very good. The male narrator does an excellent version of a Chinese man who speaks English with an accent, but it's extraordinarily authentic.
Overall, though, a good story and it does move along at a good pace, but the details are definitely not for the faint of heart.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful