A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place
by
Seicho Matsumoto

I just finished reading “A Quiet Place” by Seicho Matsumoto (1909 –1992).
He is one of the most famous literary figures in Japan. According to wikipedia “Matsumoto’s works created a new tradition of Japanese crime fiction by incorporating elements of human psychology and ordinary life”.

The book was first published in Japan in 1975. And translated by Louise Heal Kawai and published in UK in 2016.

Synopsis from the back cover:

“While on a business trip to Kobe, Tsuneo Asai receives the news that his wife Eiko has died of a heart attack. Eiko had a heart condition, so the news of her death wasn’t totally unexpected. But the circumstances of her demise leave Tsuneo, a softly spoken government bureaucrat, perplexed. How did it come about that his wife – who was shy and withdrawn, and only left her house twice a week to go to haiku meetings – ended up dead in a small shop in a quiet, residential Tokyo neighbourhood?
When Tsuneo goes to apologize to boutique owner for the trouble caused by his wife’s death he discovers the hotel Tachibana nearby, a shady establishment known as a rendezvous for secret lovers. As he digs deeper into his wife’s recent past, he must eventually conclude that she led a double life…”

When is the last time I enjoyed a crime fiction so much?
If I say that this book is a page turner and unputdownable… that will be only half the truth. It’s also something else.
It’s not very complicated mystery novel, yet it’s ingenious.
Halfway through the book and you suddenly realize that this is not only about the man Tsuneo Asai… it’s also about you. You are tricked by the author into this unique situation… and you are forced to examine your own motivation, your own psyche. Here, you come face to face with your subconscious that governs your life. It’s an investigation into your life. It’s a call for a look deep into your soul and confront whatever you find there.

I want to go through the book again… now slowly… very slowly… and savoure the taste page by page…

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