Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama (translated from the Japanese by Jonathan Lloyd-Davies) and Give-away

It isn’t a new copy, I bought if for myself from Book Depository, yet I am giving away one of the best pieces of crime fiction I have ever read. Six Four is an international best seller; it is the winner of the best Japanese Crime Fiction of the Year Award, but it is not just about crime by any means. It is about the Japanese: police, media, families, pride, shame, and perseverance.

But, that might sound boring. And Six Four is anything but boring. Gradually, the layers of the case are lifted, delicately, as though by a surgeon’s hand. The reader wonders, along with Mikami (once in the department of Criminal Investigation now transferred to Administrative Affairs) where his daughter is, and why did the case of Six Four go so wrong so long ago?

Six Four. The term for a fourteen year old case, the kidnapping and murder of a young girl named Shoko…It went without saying that Six Four was the Prefectural HQ’s greatest failure.

p. 33

Parallel to this case is the fact that his own daughter, Ayumi, has run away from home. Her parents have had no word from her, they do not know if she is alive or dead, only why it is that she has run away. One day, Mikami’s wife answers the phone while he is away, and hears nothing but silence. This happens two more times, and she is convinced that it is their daughter silently reaching out to them. Mikami is not so sure, as he learns of two other households also receiving these silent calls.

I dare not tell you the conclusion to the novel, of particularly the case, or even of Ayumi. I would not dream of spoiling one of the best pieces of crime fiction I have ever read. But, I do highly recommend this book with all my heart, and I will send it to one winner. Simply leave a comment below indicating your wish to be entered, and I will declare a winner at the end of January.

Winner of Six Four is the blog A Hot Cup of Pleasure. Congratulations! And, there will be two more give-aways before the conclusion of the Japanese Literature Challenge 15.

19 thoughts on “Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama (translated from the Japanese by Jonathan Lloyd-Davies) and Give-away

  1. This one did quite well, but I expected it to do even better. I think maybe English readers were put off by its length (and the ‘foreign-sounding, far too similar’ names, this is a constant issue that we come up against in translated crime fiction).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I had started it several times in years past and abandoned it. Like Possession, by A.S. Byatt, it took me a few attempts to get hooked. But, once there, I was amazed at the subtlety and the layers of this marvelous novel. It’s true that the names are similar, and the pages many, but it’s a pity that should deter readers.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m interested in reading it some day, but prefer to start with Book 1: Prefecture D. Would it better, or it really doesn’t matter? Good to know that it may be challenging at first. Great review!
    Anyway, I don’t enter the giveaway today, I won last year I think, so letting the place for sb else.
    I’m currently reading The Wild Geese by Ogai Mori and really enjoying it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think it matters that one start with Book 1: Prefecture D; I understood this perfectly well, although I needed to read quite slowly. Marina is right: there are many complicated names! Or, perhaps not so complicated but they all seem to start with the same letter. How kind of you to let another person win, and, I am so very glad you’re enjoying The Wild Geese. It is a “simple” book that goes deep, I think.


  3. As you know from our discussions, I loved this book. Thanks to the comments above I now know there is a “book 1” (mostly because I try not to read too much about a book/author for fear of spoilers.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Spoilers are the worst! I never knew about a book before Six Four, either. Perhaps we should have read that first…but, my enjoyment of Six Four was not diminished. I never expected the ending, and yet I also thought, “How perfect. Who would be more persevering than a Japanese father?”


  4. Love, Love Love Japanese writing!!! Read Woman In the Purple Skirt yesterday in one sitting. Very good! Before that Strange Weather in Tokyo – excellent! Next Murakami T Shirt book. Thanks you for your recommendations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so happy to read, this Christina! You do t have a blog, do you? If so, I couldn’t find a link…I am glad you liked The Woman in The Purple Skirt, and Strange Weather in Tokyo. Have you read The Housekeeper and the Professor or Convenience Store Woman? They are to more rather short novels with a profound (on me, at least) effect. I am waiting until the end of the month to open Murakami T. For my birthday.😉


      • Yes, have read Convenience Store Woman and every Murakami published. Will read soon The Wrong Goodbye by Toshihiko Yahagi. Going to check out The Housekeeper and the Professor. Thank you for recommendations. No, I do not have a blog. Happy reading!


  5. This reader is intrigued by your description. I’ve added it to my 2022 TBR list. It turns out my library has a copy so no need to include me in your giveaway. Cheers and happy new year!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. M, I remember buying this one on a whim (that seems to be my book buying strategy lately) and then hearing about it on NPR. It was such a slow-going read. I remember that I really enjoyed it and wound up purchasing more of Yokohama’s books. Glad you enjoyed it so much 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have emailed you that you won a copy of Six Four, yet perhaps you did not receive it? My emails have been landing in people’s junk boxes for some reason; do check there, and email me your address if you would still like it.


  7. Pingback: A Reading Year in Review: 2022 – Dolce Bellezza

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