When a group of junior high school students in China unwittingly film a murder, instead of turning the footage over to the authorities, they devise a scheme to extort money from the killer. These aren’t just any kids, they are Zhu Chaoyang, Ding Hao, and Pupa—the titular Bad Kids of Zijin Chen’s recently translated thriller.
Austrian author Milena Michiko Flašar’s latest novel, Mr Katō Plays Family, makes use of the range of feelings experienced during retirement to explore imagination, relationships, and family. This heartwarming and quiet story, translated from German by Caroline Froh, unfolds in an almost dream-like, stream-of-consciousness style as Mr. Katō connects with others and renews his sense of purpose in life.
Amid the scorching heat of August 1947, the Edo Tattoo Society hosts a spectacle that captivates the city: a competition to crown the person with the most exquisite body art. Held at a garden restaurant, their first post-War meeting draws a large crowd. Among the attendees is Kenzo Matsushita, recently returned from the war where he served as a military medic. He has only a passing curiosity about tattoos yet becomes completely swept up in the excitement of the evening.
On 29 September 1985, four men arrive at the Mill House, located deep in the mountains of Okayama prefecture, for their annual visit, but the weekend quickly spirals into a sinister nightmare: two bodies are discovered, a guest goes missing, and a valuable painting disappears. Exactly one year later, the remaining guests gather again, hoping to put the past behind them. However, with the approach of a typhoon and the arrival of an unexpected visitor, an eerie sense of foreboding returns.
Long ago at the bottom of a lake lived a large, white snake—revered for his great powers, the local people implored this mythical creature to reform the landscape so that they could cultivate crops and survive the winter. According to the oft-told tale, after striking a deal with the chieftain, the snake god replaced the lake with a clear river and fertile farmland.
Kotaro Isaka’s Three Assassins follows hot on the heels of the release of Bullet Train, the Hollywood movie starring Brad Pitt, based on the English-language edition of the author’s previous thriller of the same name. The novel alternates between the voices of Suzuki, a former middle school math teacher turned scammer; The Whale, a towering presence who convinces his victims to end their own lives; and Cicada, a notorious killer of entire families.
The narrator of Kim Hye-jin’s Concerning My Daughter believes that “some things aren’t spoken out loud.” As she ages, she doesn’t want to discuss the lack of facilities willing to care for the elderly. And as a mother, she doesn’t want to talk about her adult daughter, who doesn’t have stable employment and is involved in a long-term relationship with a woman. She keeps quiet, ignoring the messiness of reality and guarding these thoughts in her head.