Confessions by Kanae Minato, translated into English from Japanese by Stephen Snyder. I’m aware there is a movie of the same name, adapted from the book, released about ten plus years ago. I haven’t watched it, the trailer was very creepy. The book reads a bit like psychological thriller, a 6-part narrative, told from the perspectives of 5 major characters. Each of them is a monologue, and the story moves forward with few flashbacks through diary entries and after thoughts. It is a dark tale, some parts feel just crazy, with persisting mystery till the end.

A three year old is found dead in the swimming pool in school premises. Investigation concludes it is an accident causing death by drowning, but the mother knows otherwise. She is a teacher in the school, and knows from the previous sequence of events, and a bit of investigating herself, that two teenagers among her own students are responsible for the death of her daughter. She resigns from her job but confronts the class on her last day at school. As the class drinks cartons of milk, as is in the school policy, and is about to be dismissed, she takes her leave, talks about her deduction of how she knows the murderers, referred to as A and B, and makes a last terrifying confession of her attempt at revenge. She wouldn’t approach the police, wouldn’t make a hue and cry but punish them herself and how!

This leads to a string of events, and the rest of the story is how the daughter died, and what was the fate of the two students involved in it. You must read to realise. It’s dark, and I must say it reflects a part of the Japanese society too -  where bullying is not taken seriously, or is not made a hue and cry of - unlike Indian or western society. Where teen suicide is the highest in the world, and the society still lives in denial. I don’t know, but my perspective of Japan comes from all that I watch, all that I read -  and those are melancholic, well, most of them at least, except a few mystery thrillers. Haruki Murakami - everything elaborate, in detail, imaginative, surreal even, a bit unreal too, but melancholic sure. All those teen romances we watched in college, with english subtitles, set in high school, each one of them seemed as if the characters were very lonely. I haven’t watched any high- good- spirited japanese movie yet, or even a novel. So I have this kinda perspective. Please suggest me otherwise if you don’t agree.

It is a rather short book, took me about 5-6 hours in total, spread over 4-5 days. I am a slow reader, and I think a lot while reading. It didn’t leave me with a good feeling overall, so I wouldn’t really recommend this book, it made me sad and moody, though the writing’s good, and the story too, but I wouldn’t recommend much.

This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.


  1. Love that you have given an honest review about this book. I'm sure there are readers who like the dark and morbid who will lap it up!

  2. Your review has made me want to pick up this book and see for myself if it is as gloomy and chilling as you say!


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Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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