A Tokyo college student’s discovery and eventual obsession with a stolen handgun awakens something dark inside him.
On a nighttime walk along a Tokyo riverbank, a young man named Nishikawa stumbles on a dead body, beside which lies a gun. From the moment Nishikawa decides to take the gun, the world around him blurs. Knowing he possesses the weapon brings an intoxicating sense of purpose to his dull university life. But soon Nishikawa’s personal entanglements become unexpectedly complicated: he finds himself romantically involved with two women while his biological father, whom he’s never met, lies dying in a hospital. Through it all, he can’t stop thinking about the gun—and the four bullets loaded in its chamber. As he spirals into obsession, his focus is consumed by one idea: that possessing the gun is no longer enough—he must fire it.
Nakamura's first novel, a deeply unsettling meditation on violence and obsession, starts slowly. Nishikawa, an emotionally troubled college student, stumbles across a dead body one night while out walking in Tokyo. Next to the corpse is a .357 magnum handgun, which is covered with blood, a fact he doesn't notice until he's picked it up and left the scene of the crime. At first, just the thought of possessing such a weapon satisfies him, but naturally a desire to fire the gun comes over him. Meanwhile, Nishikawa attends lectures and seduces several women, one of whom, the alluring Yuko Yoshikawa, he might even allow himself to feel something for, but it's the gun that dominates his world. With obvious nods to Meursault and Raskolnikov, Nishikawa slips into a sort of feverish psychosis that demands release. Nakamura (The Thief) propels his story to a truly disturbing, yet inevitable ending.