Well, it seems fairly clear now that the delivery guy was being manipulated by somebody (suggested in one of the early chapters, and confirmed here). The speaker in chapter 8 says it was the delivery guy who did the actual “put the poison in the bottles” part, though that’s surely just a guess on his part.
I like the effect when a character that appears in passing in an earlier chapter turns up as main speaker in a later chapter – it gives the sense that whoever it is who’s interviewing these people is going through and tracking down people to talk to based on earlier conversations.
The ‘fragments’ chapter was confusing, no doubt intentionally so. So far in the book we’ve had:
mostly chapters where a speaker is talking to an interviewer whose questions and responses are not shown
the chapter which was an extract from Makiko’s book
the chapter which was third person narration of the detective. (Is this also from the book? It has a similar “third person but don’t name them” kind of style. But the book supposedly is vague about who did it, and the detective chapter seemed quite strongly pointing towards Hisako.)
The fragments don’t really match any of those formats, so what are they? Some seem like they’re conversations between Hisako and somebody else. Could they be fragments of memories of the “interviewer”? If so, there surely aren’t too many people that could be. (Have the unreliable narrators all helpfully omitted some easy-to-overlook person close to the family?)
Who in the story so far has had a Christian upbringing or background?
Hisako’s mother was Christian, and even used one of the small rooms with the round windows to pray.
Chapter 8 thoughts:
And the spotlight is on Hisako again. I loved how the narrator was the little boy from the previous story. Characters that you barely pay any attention to are suddenly the protagonists in a later chapter. I wonder who was the one laughing and talking with Hisako when he passed by the Aozawa house as a 高校生. He was third year of primary school at the time of the murders, and the books was written about 10 years after the murder, if I remember correctly? So it might well have been Saiga “interviewing” Hisako that he happened to overhear.
Chapter 9 thoughts:
What a confusing chapter. Fragments indeed. Is おじいさん the delivery man? I gather it was Hisako saying she’d rather be alone instead of with a constantly noisy family. I can understand how constant noise can grate on you, possibly even more if you’re blind and hearing is the sense you most rely on to navigate the world. Who was she talking with? The other person seemed to know a lot about Spain, religion, Thomas Moore, subjects I’d expect to be obscure for children in middle-school. Saiga seemed to like reading, but would she know all that? Maybe it was the delivery man? And who was ピーちゃん? I get so easily lost with straight dialogue.
I read Utopia in middle school. I’d read anything adults would let me get my hands on though, so to me it’s not out the realm of possibility for a bookworm to be reading all those topics, even at a young age. Also IIRC it did say it was the voices of two girls talking?
I don’t have too much to add. I found these chapters intriguing without actually adding too much more than what we already knew, excluding of course giving more info on the link between Hisako and the delivery man
Sooo spooky! So it seems that maybe Hisako did not only plot the family murder, she also later ordered 兄さん to go kill himself Really scary.
I also liked how this chapter and the previous one were fitting so well together, with the narrator of either being talked about in the other one. It gets ever more tightly woven together.
Very confusing chapter. I don’t think the old man in this chapter was the delivery man, as he was still pretty young, wasn’t he? (He just looked old in the end, I thought.)
I also think the person who hears the ocean is Hisako. But no clue who the other one might be…
Probably totally unrelated but I just remembered that in the Hisako interview chapter, she talked about a huge swing hanging over the ocean, no? I think she has really strong ties to the ocean. They are probably even strengthened by her blindness, as the constant noise is on her mind all the time, I guess.
Chapter 9 was confusing indeed. I think everyone’s right that it’s Hisako giving us a hint about her motive for the murder. Part 2 looks like a sermon from her mom? Part 4 sounds like it’s also from the point of view of Hisako, but I have no idea who the old man is, I agree the delivery man was too young to be called おじいさん.
We’ve seen so many character already, I can’t believe we still have one third of the book left.
Once again I wonder if chapter 9 had helpful titles in the English translation. Such a different effect, spelling out so much.
Definitely, it’s just that I can’t match this person to anyone else (yet). Maybe from the point of view of a schoolgirl he’s old, especially in his state of health? Although Maki-chan didn’t seem to think so when she met him. Maybe it’s the impression he has of himself? Or maybe it’s another person entirely.
When I first read the description I immediately thought of the delivery man as well, but then I figured that the age doesn’t match. But yeah, taken from the perspective of a younger child, it might well be the impression he left. (In Chapter 8 our narrator boy also had that impression in the end, I think?) Or maybe the author just purposely created this similarity to lead us astray?
I don’t read the Japanese version, so I’m confused when I read the word
“おじいさん” or “ピーちゃん” here.
Does “おじいちゃん” mean the man who the kids talk about at the end of the capter9?
What is ピーちゃん？ Where does ピーちゃん appear?
I suppose it’s not all that easy for the translator to translate “adult uses 友人, kids don’t recognize word (and say it in hiragana)” but leaving it untranslated entirely doesn’t seem like a great approach.
In retrospect there’s a clue that ピーちゃん is Hisako in the Japanese version – she says “somebody’s come” but the other person in the conversation has to tell her who it is, because she can’t see them.
I like the vague sense I get from the book so much, I wonder if I would have enjoyed the English translation as much. It does tend to spell out things that the Japanese original leaves to the imagination.
I agree. But I now wonder if maybe the word “Yuu-jin” plays a role later on. Maybe it’s used as a name later leading to some kind of misunderstanding? You probably couldn’t do that with a more difficult way for “friend”.