1995, Japan struggles with a severe economic crisis.
Fate brings a number of people together in Hiroshima in a confrontation with dramatic consequences.
Xavier Douterloigne, the son of a Belgian diplomat, returns to the city, where he spent his youth, to come to terms with the death of his sister.
Inspector Takeda finds a deformed baby lying dead at the foot of the Peace Monument, a reminder of Hiroshima’s war history.
A Yakuza-lord, rumored to be the incarnation of the Japanese demon Rokurobei, mercilessly defends his criminal empire against his daughter Mitsuko, whom he considers insane.
And the punk author Reizo, obsessed by the ultra-nationalistic ideals of his literary idol Mishima, recoils at nothing to write the novel that will “overturn Japan’s foundations”….
Hiroshima’s indelible war-past simmers in the background of this ultra-noir novel.
Clandestine experiments conducted by Japanese Secret Service Unit 731 during WWII become unveiled and leave a sinister stain on the reputation of the imperial family and the Japanese society as a whole.
This is certainly a novel that stays with you and the subject matters means it won’t be a book for everyone but I thought it was a well written story that made me think, especially with it based on what happened on the 6th August 1945 and the aftermath that followed.
I do love my historical fiction and this had an element of that and also the more modern which I enjoyed. Personally I did find the amount of detail distracted from the main story at times but that is my only real criticism and I would definitely be interested in reading more from this author.
The plot is well developed and whilst I didn’t always find it to be a comfortable read the author handled the subject matter well and made the book a compelling story that I am glad I picked up and read as it did push me slightly out of my comfort zone.
It is four stars from me for this one. It is a book that makes you think and one that will stay with me for a while, highly recommended to anyone interested in this period of history!
e-book amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B079NL7FNN/ref=nosim/authordatabase
e-book amazon.fr: https://www.amazon.fr/Return-Hiroshima-Bob-Van-Laerhoven/dp/9881493889
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A fulltime Belgian/Flemish author, Laerhoven published more than 35 books in Holland and Belgium. Some of his literary work is published in French, English, German, Slovenian, Italian, Polish, and Russian.Three time finalist of the Hercule Poirot Prize for Best Mystery Novel of the Year with the novels “Djinn”, “The Finger of God,” and “Return to Hiroshima”; Winner of the Hercule Poirot Prize for “Baudelaire’s Revenge,” which also won the USA Best Book Award 2014 in the category “mystery/suspense”.
His collection of short stories “Dangerous Obsessions,” first published by The Anaphora Literary Press in the USA in 2015, was hailed as “best short story collection of 2015” by the San Diego Book Review. The collection is translated in Italian, (Brazilian) Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish. “Retour à Hiroshima”, the French translation of “Return to Hiroshima,” is recently finished. In 2018, The Anaphora Literary Press published “Heart Fever”, a second collection of short stories. Heart Fever, written in English by the author, is a finalist in the Silver Falchion 2018 Award in the category “short stories collections”. Laerhoven is the only non-American finalist of the Awards.
Social Media Links –
Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G89ns-UgCzk
Author social media links:
www.bobvanlaerhoven.com (Russian website for МестьБодлера, the Russian edition of Baudelaire’s Revenge)
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