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人質の朗読会

Summary

Japanese

南米のある村で、日本人7人と添乗員が乗ったマイクロバスが、遺跡観光を終えて首都に向かう帰路、反政府ゲリラに襲撃され、身代金と仲間の釈放を求める犯行声明が発表された。拉致現場は標高2000メートル級の山々が連なる山岳地帯、目新しい情報がないまま日本国内でのニュースの扱いは次第に小さくなっていき、遠く離れた地で起きているらしい事件に人々の関心は薄れていった。

ゲリラと政府の交渉は水面下で続き、発生から100日が過ぎたある日、軍と警察の特殊部隊がアジトに強行突入し、銃撃戦が繰り広げられた末に犯人グループ5人が全員死亡、特殊部隊員2人が殉職、犯人が仕掛けていたダイナマイトにより人質となっていた8人全員が死亡した。この凄惨な結末は、ニュースを忘れかけ、どこか楽観視していた世間の人々に大きなショックを与えた。

事件から2年後、国際赤十字が差し入れた救急箱などに仕掛けられていた盗聴器で、人質たちの音声が録音されたテープの存在が明らかになる。テープには人質8人がそれぞれ心に残っている出来事を物語として書き起こし、各人が朗読する声が収められていた。事件後、遺族を取材していたラジオ局の記者はテープが被害者が確かに生きていた証になると重要性を説き、かくして遺族の許可を得てラジオ番組『人質の朗読会』が放送されることとなった。

(Source: Wikipedia)

English

人質の朗読会 (‘the recitals of the hostages’) is another work by Ogawa, like Revenge, that is only very loosely a novel and is composed of a series of essentially distinct stories – nine of them. The set-up, or framing device, is quite striking – bizarre even - and naturally colors the reading of the pieces themselves: a short prefatory section explains that a minibus with seven tourists, their guide, and the driver, travelling somewhere on the other side of the globe, was attacked by a group of local anti-government guerillas while on its way to visit some local ruins. The tourists and their guide were taken hostage; negotiations went nowhere, and after more than three months the government launched an attack against the rebels; the hostages were all killed in the rescue attempt. Two years later recordings from their time in captivity were made public, recording of each of the eight hostages recounting a story or memory they had written – a task they had been able to focus on in their otherwise so difficult situation.
The rest of the book then consists of these eight recitals by the hostages, one for each evening. […]

(Source: Complete-Review)

Availability

Amazon
BookWalker

Personal Opinion

I thought it’s about time to read another book by Ogawa Youko.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Many book club participants liked 博士の愛した数式 by the same author
  • Not too long at 247 pages
  • Not just a random selection of short stories

Cons

  • The chapters might be pretty unrelated, though?
  • The overarching topic of hostages and guerilla might not be for everybody?

Pictures

First Three Pages of Chapter One

Additional Pages

First page of first story:

First page of second story:

First page of third story:

Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

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  • So much effort my head might explode
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