My most recent novel experience was with a Japanese psychological horror suspense novel, called Another by Yukito Ayatsuji, and it was such an amazing fricking book! It’s a paced, speculative story about a supernatural curse that has befallen third year middle-schoolers in fictitious Yomiyama, Japan.
My first encounter with this title was when the anime aired a few years ago. The animation was gorgeous and I immediately fell in love with how imaginative it was. It wasn’t until much later that I discovered the anime originally stemmed from a novel. Well, I was finally able to dive into the book, and I must say that it was one of the most engrossing reading experiences that I have had this year!
Another is classified as horror. I found it to be far more eerie and creepy than frightening. About ten pages into the book, an atmosphere of grim tension had utterly captivated me, which proceeds to deepen with the turn of a page. This uncomfortable heaviness just settled in as I read about these students, and the impending curse gripped my attention so tautly that a hundred pages flew by in what felt like a manner of minutes. As information about the curse is revealed, I thought I would feel a bit of relief, but all of that knowledge only served to contribute to the overall ghostly shadow of the story.
There are deaths in the book. Being of horror classification, it’s quite difficult to imagine that there wouldn’t be, however. What separates the deaths in this title versus others of it’s genre is that the deaths are almost always unpredictable and occur in an almost matter-of-fact manner. It amazed me how nonchalant some of these tragedies felt at the time they occur. Yet, in the aftermath, the implications of these deaths finally begin to feel daunting and surreal.
There is a lot of subtlety in Another. With the curse’s background coming to light, a natural instinct to try and piece together all of the clues so you can solve the mystery before the finale makes you antsy and eager to keep reading more and more, but the subtext is so fluid and wonderfully masked in emotions, expressions, and specifically things that are not said or revealed that it’s genuinely goddamn difficult to truly figure out the result. Subtlety, for me, is something that can make-it or break-it in terms of a really good, suspenseful mystery. Another has this shit down like a masterpiece.
There are a lot of questions that are posed by the protagonist that are reflective of thoughts that the reader will have, especially if you’re naturally skeptical of supernatural phenomena. I found this to be a nice relief for that inescapable rigidness of uncertainty at particular plot points, but overall it’s essentially a steroid for your curiosity, which may sound like a bad thing, but believe me in no way is it bad at all.
Another is superbly written. Being exquisitely twisted and haunting, the originality is stunningly strange, and superlative with an air of classical terror (quite reminiscent to Hitchcock). With an immaculate prose and refreshing usage of words that are scintillating yet accessible, the author creates an absolutely mind-blowing piece of literature. This is a book that I thoroughly reveled. It’s equal parts thrilling, spooky, entrancing, and downright psychological; so it’s everything a thriller should be! I highly recommend this to anyone interested in reading a book that is fantastic in every way.