Book review of The Tattoo Murder by Takagi Akimitsu
A thriller that is so complete with suspense, magnanimity, and exquisite detailing finessed to the level of perfection that is surely second nature for Japanese literary art forms, The Tattoo Murder by Takagi Akimitsu is a book that is not just a translated suspense thriller but more of a piece of writing depicting the more intense bits of Japanese culture and also the art of tattooing. Not only viral owing to the juxtaposition of its nature, but this piece of writing is also becoming grossly popular for a myriad of reasons.
When I read a thriller, I always feel a sense of unravelling. I get into a zone where I can actually witness myself enjoying that brilliant piece of reading, cosying up to it with some hot chocolate, probably a steaming bowl of dal-rice along with my favourite “chai” – uff, I seem to have transcended straight into the mountains, scaling their peaks and how! So, when The Tattoo Murder by Takagi Akimitsu was being consumed by me, I had no clue what was in store. I mean, I realized that this one was related to tattooing and the world of tattoos.
Though, I simply did not expect to get so consumed or intrigued by this. Explaining the Japanese sort of tattooing, the Author made sure that the fine intricacy behind tattooing comes forth as in along with glorifying the art of tattooing he also explained how tattooing roughly translates to marking that part of your body forever, scathing it, killing it of sorts. Umm, I mean it was so overwhelming that give me a minute and I will probably gather my thoughts and BRB.
Have you noticed that when one gets a tattoo done, looking at that tattoo aka that part move actually feels as if that tattoo form -be it an animal, bird, a symbol or anything, you feel as if it is slowly coming alive as it moves when you move the skin/the part it has been done upon? At that moment, that particular piece of art looks and feels as mesmerizing as it is aesthetic.
I mean, guys when I read about tattooing, the history behind it, and how those associated with it faced the taboo as also the complete process of doing it through this narrative, I was completely spellbound. It felt so sensuous and scintillating to be able to get into the finer aspects of this craft, understanding the minutest of details involved that I instantly developed a love for this art as also the complete process.
The Tattoo Murder, to begin with, for me was one entrancing tale thanks to the cultural enlightenment it provided on the art of tattooing. Although that is one reason, I must confess there are countless others and each is better than the previous for sure. Knowing, fathoming and understanding one thing is something and yet falling head over heels for it, well now that is something else altogether. Romance at another level, as I call it.
The Romance of reading and writing, of cosying up to such pieces of writing. It completely was the feeling of being onto a journey where I was drifting alongside Takagi, being swooped into the fastidious art of tattoo, the enthralling tale of the murder that transpires and the eventual follow up and breakdown of the case, clamping upon the culprit. The story had many characters and each and every character has been literally coined in the plot in a virtual flesh of sorts, being indispensable to the movement of the main plot.
Be it, Kenzo Matsushita, his older brother Daiyu, Dr Heishiro Hayakawa, Kyosuke Kamizu or even Kinue, each and every character was curated in a way which fell in line with an ensemble of the story. I call it an “ensemble” coz the feeling I got from this one was akin to that of a fabric being loomed upon, weaved upon with the thread of malice, of wrongdoing, exotic yet gory, sensuous yet intricately delicate, introspective yet intense and insightful too.
Takagi has managed to fuse some of the most interesting permutations together, weaving them into one single narrative which is sensuous, yet uncannily stringent, subtle and yet richly illustrated (I loved the descriptions of the tattooing art and its explanations). Yes, am aware that tattooing used to be considered illegal in many places. Am also taken in by the theory opined by Professor Hayakawa that “If you look at it from a psychoanalytic point of view, a tattoo is a form of perpetual suicide.”
Indeed, it is not only the painstaking art of tattooing but the complete aspect of the artist when he undergoes that whole process when the opposite person gets inked. The emotions, the aspects, and the whole feeling that transpires out is something unique, also given the fact that this is a translated work from Japanese literature. I must commend it as a brilliant translation, covering even the finest of details in an illustrative way, ensuring that not the smallest of details are lost in the process.
Boy, was I drenched in an awe-inspiring cold sweat when the entire thing set in pace with the murder of Kinue Nomura. That display of details which was gory, was smart and aesthetic too, displaying finesse in the most brilliant manner. Although I do want to put forth one small aspect, that being the fact that the last 10 to 15 pages seemed a bit overwhelming for me, courtesy of the over exhaustive info provided as regards the entire process of the murder, as well as its solving, was concerned.
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An incredible translation this one was a splendid work also as far as the foray into the history, art, and culture of Japan, of the art of tattooing was concerned. The locked room puzzle added to the element of mystery shrouding this brilliant piece of work in a light where it was simply phenomenal. A must-read, bookmark this one for your next cosy mystery read.
The Tattoo Murder
So, hope you guys liked my thoughts on The Tattoo Murder by Takagi Akimitsu.
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