Confessions by Kanae Minato could have been my White Whale, but I’ve chosen to count it as my Cannonballer Says square because I never would have heard of it if it hadn’t been for Cannonball Read! I saw a review here a few years ago (I think it must have been ElCicco’s!) and was super intrigued, but hadn’t been able to get it from my library (and I was committed to not buying books until I got a better-paying job–not coincidentally, I read this while commuting too and from my new job!). I enjoy thrillers when I’m not reading fantasy, but this is more psychological and less stereotypically ‘thriller-y’–more of a typical ‘literary fiction’ (which I rarely read).
The style is very intriguing; the point-of-view changes with each chapter, and each is written in a different way. The first is a speech (written more like stream-of-consciousness) from Moriguchi, a high-school teacher, to her students, in which she reflects on the events of the year, especially the tragic death of her four-year-old daughter. Then she drops a bombshell: her daughter’s death was not an accident, as all believed, but murder. Murder committed by two of the people in the class. The second POV is a letter written by one of Moriguchi’s students, the next primarily a series of diary entries, and so on. It is certainly not a typical narrative but it is an easy read; I could barely put it down and read it very quickly. There is a common thread that ties the chapters together, so even though I was startled at the change of POV at first, I was able to follow the narrative without difficulties. Some of the chapters are tragic, others shocking, but they combine and culminate in a satisfying conclusion.
Overall, I wouldn’t say I loved it, but I certainly didn’t dislike it. It was exciting to read something so far out of my usual sphere of interest, and especially to read something by a non-Western author. The characters and social setting were very Japanese, which added to my interest–I think it would have been a very different story if written by/for Americans, even with the same plot. I would definitely pick up something by this author again, or in this similar vein.
Also, it goes without saying from the plot, but this book is NOT suitable for those who do not wish to read about the deaths of children. It is pretty grim.