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Ring by Koji Suzuki
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Ring (1991)

by Koji Suzuki

Series: Ring (1)

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Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
I was ready to quit this book after the first 100 pages . . . the main character is horrible, his best friend despicable, the writing (or translation?) rather bland. My brother urged me to stick with it. In the end, I’m glad I did.

The end has some satisfying surprises. Ring is very interesting and picks up quite a bit about half-ways in. The main plot comes together very well with a mixture of supernatural and realistic elements. I was especially interested in the occult/parapsychology side of things and this novel did not disappoint on that front!

Asakawa is a journalist. When his teenage niece dies of heart failure at the exact same time as three other teens, he decides to investigate. Asakawa clearly doesn’t care about the death of his niece at all, we’re even told that he skipped her funeral! He drags his wife and baby daughter to her sister’s house where he completely ignores the family’s grief.

”Asakawa was lost in thought, and didn’t want to be bothered. He wished his wife would act like her name, which meant “quiet.” (p.47) What an ass!

His wife is completely blown away when he does thing like help with the dishes and lay their baby down to sleep showing that he never does this basic stuff!

And . . . it gets worse.

Turns out, Asakawa’s best friend, the guy he hangs out, has beers with, can turn to in times of need and whom he feels free to share his emotions with is Ryuji - a serial rapist. WTF?!?!

Ryuji cheerfully admits to raping several women since they were in high school - in fact, the first time he told Asakawa was when they became friends. ”Naturally, Asakawa never told anyone about Ryuji's crime.” (p. 93) Really? Naturally?!

”There was something in the depths of [Asakawa's] heart that resonated with Ryuji’s eccentricity.”
(p. 94) Yeah, rape is seen by our main character as an “eccentricity.” ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!

Well . . . like my brother said, you do have to read to the end. I’ll try not to get too spoiler-y here, but there is a bit more too Asakawa and Ryuji then we see in the beginning . . .

Also, the overall plot, involving a mysterious “demon tape” - a VHS recording of part-abstract, part-real imagery that dooms the viewer to die seven days after seeing it is pretty damn cool. I, as well as many others, enjoyed the American remake of the film when I was younger (I still have not seen the Japanese version, but would like to.)

As we learn more about the tape’s origins - a mixture of the surprisingly believable (kid staying at the cabin wants to record his favourite show while the parents watch something else, but sets it to a channel that broadcasts dead air in that region, where it picks up a weird broadcast) with the supernatural (psychic imprinting of photographs) - works really well!

I enjoyed the mystery of trying to uncover where this tape came from, and who the people in the recording were. As Asakawa and Ryuji travel across Japan trying to find answers, I found myself swept up in the story. The final plot reveals manage to work really well - I was impressed by how everything came together, and the reveal of the “charm” at the end made a scary amount of sense! ( )
  catfantastic | Aug 13, 2015 |
Plain old supernatural detective story. The story was engaging and redolent of that dark sense of quirk that seems to shape so much japanese fiction.

I think the translation might have made the prose somewhat clunky and banal but it's hard to tell.

The horror aspect of this was smothered almost completely by the investigation which at times seemed overly long and drawn out. This represents a great example of a movie being better than the book it's made from - both the Japanese and American versions. ( )
1 vote keebrook | Mar 10, 2015 |
Kazuyuki Asakawa launches a personal investigation into the unexplained deaths of four teenagers which leads to him a mountain resort where he watches the infamous tape that warns whomever watches it that they have one week to live. Asakawa now races against time to solve the mystery of the tape and save not only his life but those of his family too.

With the minimal use of description, Suzuki still is able to build tension slowly at first, but then on the reveal of the tape's contents, and afterwards one is hooked on the mystery and gradually-increasingly terror.

This was one of the few books that actually scared me at times and to be able to evoke such a reaction yet force me to continue reading alone merits commendation for Suzuki. Ring is one of the best, perhaps, of recent Japanese horror stories. ( )
  xuebi | May 30, 2014 |
I love stories, especially science fiction, fantasy and horror, but I don't really care for movies. They are almost never as good as the book, and I'm always easily distracted when watching movies (or TV). So, I actually pick up books when I've heard the movie is pretty good. The same happened here. I actually have the DVD of the Japanese movie of Ring, but never watched it. I couldn't wait to read the book though, because I've heard many times that Koji Suzuki is a good writer, because I like Japanese novels (or at least, the ones I've read), and who can resist a nice supernatural horror tale?
Four teenager die unexpectedly, all at the same time. Reporter Kazuyuki Asakawa figures this out, and is intrigued. He starts investigating how this could have happened, expecting something like a virus that has infected all four of them. He finds out they spent a night together in a cabin in a resort, and when he spends the night in the same cabin, he finds a message from one of the teenagers not to watch a certain tape. Of course Asakawa does anyway, and that starts the supernatural race to figure out what the tape is about and how it could have caused four young healthy people to die.
This book was very good. The story (I read an English translation) is translated well, but keeps its Japanese style (in the way people act around each other, and descriptions of landscapes and houses). It made me feel like not only was I watching a story unfold, it happened in a different culture. I don't think this book would work as well in a different setting, because of the way people accept supernatural events. It is a very good horror story, one that doesn't have a nice ending with closure. I hope to come across other parts in the series in the future. Four out of five stars. ( )
  divinenanny | Nov 25, 2013 |
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Liked to read it, it was quite a quick read.
I'm not very sure about the Haruki Murakami part in this book tough, I did not really recognize a lot of really surreal things that I found there. If I did compare to another writer, it was Stephen King, but then Japanese style.
Very nice to read, but it didn't give me the shivers or had me reading, reading, reading without thinking of anything else.
I'm looking forward to start in the next book of the trilogy, although I won't do that right away. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
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A row of condominium buildings, each fourteen stories high, ran along the northern edge of the housing development next to the Sankeien garden.
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"A mysterious video has been linked to a number of deaths, and when an inquisitive journalist finds the tape and views it herself, she sets in motion a chain of events that puts her own life in danger"--Container.

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