The magnum opus by Japanese literary sensation Fuminori Nakamura, Cult X is a story that dives into the psychology of fringe religion, obsession, and social disaffection.
When Toru Narazaki’s girlfriend, Ryoko Tachibana, disappears, he tries to track her down, despite the warnings of the private detective he’s hired to find her. Ryoko’s past is shrouded in mystery, but the one concrete clue to her whereabouts is a previous address in the heart of Tokyo. She lived in a compound with a group that seems to be a cult led by a charismatic guru with a revisionist Buddhist scheme of life, death, and society. Narazaki plunges into the secretive world of the cult, ready to expose himself to any of the guru’s brainwashing tactics if it means he can learn the truth about Ryoko. But the cult isn’t what he expected, and he has no idea of the bubbling violence he is stepping into.
Inspired by the 1995 sarin gas terrorist attack on the Tokyo subway, Cult X is an exploration of what draws individuals into extremism. It is a tour de force that captures the connections between astrophysics, neuroscience, and religion; an invective against predatory corporate consumerism and exploitative geopolitics; and a love story about compassion in the face of nihilism.
A man's search for his missing girlfriend drives this gripping novel from Nakamura (The Boy in the Earth). After Ryoko Tachibina disappears from Toru Narazaki's life after hinting that she is going to kill herself, he gets a lead on her potential whereabouts from a PI friend, who reports that she was a member of a mysterious religious organization in Tokyo the kind "people didn't hear many good things about." When Toru goes to its headquarters, he's told that, while Ryoko had been there, she was actually a member of a rival group a "nameless cult," labelled simply "X" by Japan's Public Security Bureau. As Toru continues his quest for the truth about Ryoko's loyalties, he learns more about X, which proves to pose a threat to the entire country. Though lengthy digressions in the form of transcribed lectures about faith and science demand some patience, and some readers may be uncomfortable with the explicit sex scenes, this noirish thriller will resonate with Ryu Murakami fans.