Date Read: May 2nd, 2021
Final Score : 8 / 10 !
This one has been on my list of a hella long time. The waitlist at my Library was like a solid YEAR long, but I finally got it early last month, and I am DEEPLY pleased with it.
I got this as an audio book, which is something I don't normally do (because I read print REALLY fast and it's hard for my brain to actually pay attention to a story being read aloud these days, ADD took away my ability to enjoy that around 8 years old, when I discovered I could get through the third Harry Potter in a decent afternoon...), but THIS little gem is definitely one that I enjoyed the reading of nearly as much as I enjoyed what was being read. In all honesty, I don't think I would've liked this one half as much without Anna Fields' spectacular feat of narration.
(Mum recommended the AudioBook and wow was she right!)
The best parts of the story came in the form of its uniqueness in terms of main character and expanded cast. Now, it took about 15% of the reading to actualy get to the point of meeting the main character, which initially irked me, but it set the scene extremely well for highlighting the fact that, in any other circumstances, translator Gen Watanabe would be in the background and unobtrusive.
However, like all books meant for adult audiences, it was painfully slow in developing an actual story. Unlike most adult fiction, that actually worked in its favor. The plot here follows a several-month-long incarceration by terrorists of attendants to fancy dinner party and a key theme it plays with is what happens when humans get bored (answer: dangerous things happen, VERY dangerous things).
Also, unlike most grown-up books, this one had a point.
This one took a situation and looked at it from a whole bunch of varied angles, but instead of just showing it to you, it made an active comment about that situation: namely that there's no such thing as 'the Bad Guys' in the real world, they only crop up in the stories that people tell to try explaining what happens in the world.
It was definitely the best adult straight-fiction book I've read in a long while.
That said, it was still REALLY slow and rather more boring that I generally prefer. I did like it, though, and it was decidedly well-crafted (and EXCEPTIONALLY well-narrated), so I do certainly recommend it.