Instantly reminiscent of the work of Osamu Dazai and Patricia Highsmith, Fuminori Nakamura's latest novel is a dark and twisting house of mirrors that philosophically explores the violence of aesthetics and the horrors of identity.
A young writer arrives at a prison to interview a convict. The writer has been commissioned to write a full account of the case, from its bizarre and grisly details to the nature of the man behind the crime. The suspect, a world-renowned photographer named Kiharazaka, has a deeply unsettling portfolio - lurking beneath the surface of each photograph is an acutely obsessive fascination with his subject.
He stands accused of murdering two women - both burned alive - and will likely face the death penalty. But something isn't quite right, and as the young writer probes further, his doubts about this man as a killer intensify. He soon discovers the desperate, twisted nature of all who are connected to the case, struggling to maintain his sense of reason and justice. Is Kiharazaka truly guilty, or will he die to protect someone else?
Evoking Ryunosuke Akutagawa's Hell Screen and Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, Fuminori Nakamura has crafted a chilling novel that asks a deceptively sinister question: Is it possible to truly capture the essence of another human being?