[Looking for nominations!] Intermediate Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: セーラー服と機関銃







(Source: Wikipedia)


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)



Personal Opinion

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

Pros and Cons for the Book Club


  • 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


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


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?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Moderate effort
  • Significant effort
  • So much effort my head might explode
  • I don’t know

0 voters