I wanted to experience every aspect of the gun thoroughly, and to abandon the firing of it that now loomed before me would mean there would be nothing left to do but to relinquish the fun. That was an impossible option, one that I couldn’t even fathom. Losing the gun would turn me into an empty shell of myself, and the prospect of carrying around that lifeless husk for the remaining years of my life seemed like an endless torture. I had often heard it said that humans lived to achieve what they chose to do, and I believed that.
The Gun tells what it is like to find a gun and become obsessed with it. When Nishikawa is wandering around late at night, he comes across the body of a fallen man beside whom is a gun. The young man picks up the gun and, as suddenly as that, is entranced. Through the subsequent pages of the novel, the gun becomes more than an acquired object for him; it is as though it has taken the place of a loved one.
Nishikawa buys special white cloth onto which he can lay the gun to show off its beautiful lustre; he polishes it and carresses it almost as if he would a woman.
It is fascinating to see the passion with which the gun takes hold of his life. As he fondles it, and daydreams about it, even in the company of his friends and lovers, the inevitable step for him to take next is to use it.
The reversible jacket, the leather gloves, the small flashlight, the gun – these four items constantly reminded me of the fact that I was a criminal. Sometimes I liked the way this made me feel, sometimes I didn’t. Yet these shifts in mood, this ambivalent consciousness that could be swayed by whatever vague reasons did not matter much to me. This was a simple process that I needed to follow, and what was important was whether I would succeed.
It is almost as though the gun has control of him rather than the other way around. Can it be that a gun holds the shooter “hostage”? At what point does the gunman lose his conscience: when he first picks up the gun, or before?
For a person who considers herself quite a pacifist, I was mesmerized by this novel. It created a plot which pushed relentlessly forward, while at the same time depicting psychological dilemmas for the central character which have no simple resolution. Just the kind of thing that makes me love Japanese literature so much.
Looks good. I wonder if i should get a copy before the TBR Dare begins… Maybe my library will have a copy soon.
It is not released until January, but if you email me your address I’d be glad to send you my copy. Then you can have it for the JLC9 and the Triple Dog Dare! 🙂
I’ve got it as a ‘to-read’ on my e-reader – a very ambiguous writer (I enjoyed The Thief but wasn’t quite sure what to make of it).
This sounds intriguing, and tackling some big issues. I’ll definitely look out for it, especially as I’m trying to read more Japanese fiction.
This reminded me it’s been a while since I read something, Japanese or not. I have been so busy and tired I cannot remember experiencing a more busier period, so I am definitely looking forward to my 3 week winter holiday to catch up on reading 🙂
What an interesting topic to explore. Now I’m curious what will become of this man in love with his gun… I feel sorry for him already.
This is a new writer to me but I do love the premise of the gun as something close to a character in the novel.
This has my interest, A fascinating idea by a good writer will keep an eye out for this book
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