I am an avid reader. I grew up spending a lot of time at the Knox public library after school with my sister; I think a product of my dad not knowing what to do with us while my mother was working afternoon shifts at the soup factory. Every fortnight (every week during school holidays), my mother would also take my sister and I to the Dandenong public library, one of the largest in the area. We would pile several wicker baskets full with random books that we would spend the rest of the weekend devouring.
Over the years, I have found myself spending far less time reading for leisure, reserving it as a holiday activity by the pool. Recently however my husband and I decided to incorporate leisure reading into our every day routine, and have allocated time on Thursday evenings for exactly that.
Having poured through quite a number of wonderful reads, I have discovered a new favourite author to add to my list – Keigo Higashino. A Japanese author who has written many literary award-winning novels, only a few have been translated into English. I discovered and read my first Higashino whilst on holidays in Bali last August, “The Devotion of Suspect X”. And it was phenomenal. If you enjoy crime fiction that has real depth to the plotline rather than reading like an episode of CSI Miami (no offence to the CSI fans out there), then Higashino novels will certainly keep you hooked. And perplexed. And debating the story and characters for days on end. Even as a translated work the writing itself is applaudable.
I often say to people who prefer to watch a movie adaptation over reading the original book that not only do you miss the additional happenings that occur in a book that are too tedious to incorporate into a film, you also don’t get to appreciate the words, language, tone and nuances that allow you to form your own interpretation of the story and characters.
Suspect X set me on a course of hunting down all the other translated Higashino books I could get my hands on, and the true favourite that I describe as a pure work of literary art, is “Journey Under the Midnight Sun”. This was a book that my husband read after me and I awoke one morning to find him staring at me, willing me awake so we could discuss the ending. I won’t even attempt to provide a blurb about it other than to say it’s very cleverly written with a storyline that is unlike any other.
Next time you find yourself sitting back and about to turn on some trashy reality television after a day at work, put down the remote and pick up a Higashino instead. And then I would love for you to tell me what you think!