Social psychologist Ben Monroe has returned to Tokyo after a failed marriage, determined to seek out his former lover Kozue. His estranged teenage daughter Mazzy reluctantly flies from California to join him. On the flight she meets a young Japanese man, Koji, a cult survivor, who tells her the story of the luminous night princess Kaguya, a powerful tale of beauty and obsession. As Ben delves deeper into the underworld in search of Kozue, Mazzy and Koji are compelled to follow, and their four lives dangerously intersect as past and present collide.
The thing about Tokyo is at the start, it plants the seeds of curiosity – the plane journey in which Koji tells folk tales to Mazzy is one that raises questions on where their dynamic will go, or if it’s a fleeting encounter of significance. Then there’s the father/daughter relationship that develops from their arrival, the teen thrust into new surroundings despite her protests. It pulls you in, and then the story unfurls very slowly.
There are moments of further intrigue along the way with Kozue, and the general meaning of it all, where their journeys all cross, but it did feel a little while in coming to fruition. Having said that, when those climaxing twists appear, they follow in quick succession through to the end.
It’s at times a bit dark and twisted, passing on the apparent paranoia of the city onto the reader in viewing some characters, but at other times really charming in terms of the relationships. Very unlike anything I’ve read; leaves you uncertain and wondering for a lot of it, but shifts pace towards the end to complete the story. Very interesting.
4th June 2015 | Cargo