Confessions – Kanae Minato (Book Review)

I saw the movie Confessions a little while back, and so was pleasantly surprised to be reminded of it recently in the form of a book recommendation:

Now it’s the last day of term, and Yuko’s last day at work. She tells her students she’s resigned because of what happened – but not for the reasons they think.

Her daughter didn’t die in an accident. Her daughter was killed by two pupils in the class. And before she leaves, she has a lesson to teach…

But revenge has a way of spinning out of control, and Yuko’s last lecture is only the start of the story.

Yuko is a teacher in a middle-school, and a single mother to 4 year old Manami. The opening book is her final lecture to her class before she resigns, in which she reveals, though whilst keeping the pupil’s identities secret, that she knows who murdered her daughter, and explains her revenge – in the form of infecting them with HIV

The rest of the book is written in different forms as we follow the consequences of the two pupils and their lives after the teacher has resigned.

The book is written in several parts, varying the point-of-view: one chapter a diary, the next a will, the next a phone-call, and so on.

The story is gripping, and I would encourage anyway to not be put off by the terible cover-art, and the cheesy tagline – the story is a lot more in-depth and lot darker than it would appear.

Reflections on the responsibilities of parents, society, and teachers towards children is often analysed throughout the book, with due consideration to how much responsibility a child should bear for the actions – especially one such as murder.

Some of the characters are even intentionally frustrating – such as one of the pupils over-protective mother who insists her child is just as much a victim as the murdered girl.

The end is fantastic too, circling off the whole story whilst frustrating the culprits.

Worth a read and very short – recommended for Japanese lit fans, or those in search of a good thriller.

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