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3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  2,989 ratings  ·  258 reviews
A pulsating psycho-thriller from Ryu Murakami, author of In the Miso Soup A renaissance man for the postmodern age, Ryu Murakami—a musician, filmmaker (Tokyo Decadence), TV personality, and award-winning author—has gained a cult following in the West. His first novel, Almost Transparent Blue, won Japan’s most coveted literary prize and sold over a million copies, and his m ...more
192 pages
Published March 27th 2007 by Penguin Books (first published August 26th 1996)
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Norwegian Wood by Haruki MurakamiThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki MurakamiKafka on the Shore by Haruki MurakamiBattle Royale by Koushun TakamiHard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
Best Japanese Books
120th out of 452 books — 2,033 voters
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Japanese Books That Are Not Manga
73rd out of 163 books — 131 voters

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Community Reviews

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Anthony Vacca
Sep 23, 2014 Anthony Vacca rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Anthony by: Lauren Floyd
Seriously perturbed about a rash of late-night impulses to murder his newborn child with an ice pick, Tokyo businessman Kawashima Masayuki decides that the only sensible thing to do is to murder a random prostitute instead. But even with all his careful preparations, which Kawashima painstakingly scribbles into a notebook, the last thing that our everyman hero expects is that his intended victim is just as deranged and volatile a freak as himself.

Sanada Chiaki is a S&M call girl in her early

Piercing by Ryū Murakami

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blurb: In Piercing, Murakami, in his own unique style, explores themes of child abuse and what happens to the voiceless among us, weaving a disturbing, spare tale of two people who find each other and then are forced into hurting each other deeply because of the haunting specter of their own abuse as children. Piercing is set in Tokyo and follows Kawashima Masayuki trying to come to terms with his overwhelming desire to stab his infant child with
It has probably been two years since I read “In the Miso Soup,” what I consider more than just Ryu Murakami's flagship novel, but one of the few pieces of literature that I still draw on regularly when I want to ush and gush about fiction. I can still conjure what it feels like to read that book: Dreamy, terrifying and lonely, with a touch of nausea. And whenever I get into a conversation about books with someone I know can handle the dankest of dank, and the sourest of sour, the bloodiest of bl ...more
Feb 08, 2015 Rage rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: japan
so this book made me feel physically unwell. I think it was an excellent, well-written book, masterfully translated, but it was extremely painful and unpleasant to read.

the two main characters have a lot of residual damage from childhood traumas that they never dealt with. it's a very visceral, intense and dark story. murakami's descriptions of violence and abuse are graphic and minutely detailed, but not without compassion. the characters are fully realized, and I think the characters' relentl
One of the most delightfully fucked up books I have ever read is Piercing. Yet, despite its gruesome content (Psychopathic killer vs Schizophrenic Prostitute) there is a strange and beautiful philosophy delicately balanced between the two protagonists. I must say that the strangeness of the tale does have the unique flavoring of the Japanese, so those who are fond of Japanese writing will probably like this. However, for those of you who enjoy the neat, though often exciting bundles of Western w ...more
Romina Nicolaides
Piercing is a short and poignant book about a seemingly balanced family man who after some sleepless nights realizes he has raging fantasies about stabbing his baby girl with an ice pick. In order to avoid this fate he decides he needs to focus his attention somewhere else and concludes that the best avenue for his drive is to stab a woman. He gives his wife and company an excuse, takes the week off work and settles into a hotel in the business district where prostitutes abound.

He plans the mur
Mar 07, 2014 Clint rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
I actually like Ryu Murakami most of the time, but this book was just, like, a parody of himself. Starts out with a guy messing around with his baby's cheek with an ice pick while his wife is sleeping behind him, thinking how nice a guy he is for not killing the baby, then he decides he needs to stab the ice pick into some woman's stomach, then decides on top of that he needs to know first hand if a sliced Achilles tendon really makes a loud pop, then gets a love hotel and writes all this down i ...more
Ruby  Tombstone [With A Vengeance]
This is a stunningly good book that mixes visceral and disturbing psychological landscapes with an extremely intelligent, almost farcical story structure. I have never read anything quite like it.

The two main characters (and there really are only two characters in this rather short book) are both acutely damaged from childhood trauma and abuse. Each sees the world in an entirely different way, and each perceives the other's actions through a lens of their own psychological damage. This leads to
i dont know.i cant say i like it. the plot is okay. i just cant see the objective of the story. the story is dark, disturbed in a way. its about some disturbed japanese guy, disturbed psychologically as a side effect from being tortured by his mother when he was little. now he kinda wants others the feel his pain. he then hires a prostitute, wanting to stab her with an ice pick and watch her in pain. turns out the prostitute was also disturbed as he is. she has issues to. being a sex slave by he ...more
Ben Loory
Dec 24, 2008 Ben Loory rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ben by: arrived in a box from pluto
my first encounter with the other murakami. for some reason i expected this guy to be a much slower, more cerebral, more "artistic" writer than haruki murakami (i guess because the japanese lit-folks seem to prefer him), but in actuality it turned out to be the opposite. this book makes the wind-up bird chronicle look like something a spinsterly schoolmarm might cook up over the course of eight or ten years of sunday afternoon tea. not to say i like this murakami better; based on this i'm still ...more
My second Ryu Murakami book and the second book I have been too horrified to put down. I sat here and read ferociously in hopes that everything would be okay. But are they ever okay? This story really has two main characters who meet under insane circumstances and for a while you kind of hope they fall for each other. Then you realize that you think that and feel that you must be cracking up.

Crazy book. Lot's of sick fun.
Primera novela que leo de Ryu Murakami (no confundir con Haruki Murakami). Una novela corta, bastante turbia y por momentos incómoda. Es increíble el desarrollo psicológico que hace el autor de los dos personajes principales, aspecto que se lleva todos mis aplausos, como así también el hecho de lo arriesgado de la novela en general.

A ver que otra novela engancho próximamente del autor.
Nuno Almeida
Tem todos os ingredientes que esperava de um livro de Murakami. Curto mas com um ritmo feroz, um autêntico page turner que se lê quase de uma assentada. Grandes doses de violência e sexualidade, por vezes misturados. A novidade, pelo menos em comparação com o Na Sopa de Miso, é que em vez de acompanharmos uma aventura tresloucada pelo ponto de vista de uma personagem mais ou menos normal, desta vez a ação distribui-se entre dois protagonistas com sérios problemas mentais. Torna-se um livro surpr ...more
Ernest Junius
May 12, 2011 Ernest Junius rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: porn filmmakers, psychologist
I don't know if it was because of my overwhelming work flow in the office these 2 weeks, I only managed to finish this book after 10 days or more. It shouldn't be that way though, since Piercing is relatively thin and easy to read.

The only reason I can come up with, for reading it for far too long, is that it doesn't has its usual Murakami grip, as what I felt in In The Miso Soup and Audition.

It began pretty interesting, a quest of a somebody whose objective is to get rid of his fear, which he a
I can't figure out if Piercing is horror or dark comedy, probably both. The novel concerns a man who fights a compulsion to stab his infant child with an icepick. (Did I lose you already?). He fights that compulsion with a logic that is perfectly sane for a man who is insane, Go stab someone else. But his intended victim is just as insane as he is. This novella focuses on their single encounter which is as weird and disturbing as you would think it would be. Often I found it a bit over-the-top w ...more
Ruby-Mae Roberts
I read this when I was 13. I had very mixed feelings about it.

It was the first real "adult" book I'd read that wasn't a classic and I was a bit smug at being allowed to buy and read this.

On the one hand I loved it because reading it made me feel like I was getting away with something naughty, but on the other hand I just hated it. It felt like the author was shouting this shocking nonsense stuff at me to bait a reaction. It felt desperate. I just wanted there to be more substance and less "...
James Purkis Purkis
"A small living creature asleep in its crib. Like a laboratory animal in a cage..." hence begins this confronting and very readable short novel by Ryu Murakami. I wouldn't say I enjoyed this short novel but I was fascinated and intrigued throughout. The premise, a man seemingly unable to control his desire to hurt his own baby with an ice pick so he decides to kill a prostitute instead, is undoubtably confronting but as the reader uncovers the past of the protagonist, his proposed victim and wif ...more
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This book is... wow, so different to anything I have ever read. Not sure if I liked it or not really, but it kept me gripped throughout. The style of writing drags you in so easily and so fluidly. The characters are odd, and Japanese, so I guess from a blinkered westerner's perspective, the two go hand in hand, but I didn't expect nearly as much stuff to happen in the story as it did. I feel quite numb after finishing it, and like I say, still uncertain as to my actual own opinion of the book, b ...more
Reading this book made me glad that I possess at least a little sanity. Kawashima has this obsession with ice picking his baby girl and figures the only way to overcome this desire is to ice pick a lady in the stomach (he did it before). Problem is he finds a lady that is as messed up as he is. This is a twisted psychosexual thriller and the second ‘modern’ Japanese writer that I’ve read this year (the first being Hitomi Kanehara). Both made my scrotum hurt. I did learn about pavor nocturnus (ni ...more
This book was really good if your into dark stuff. It was quick, to the point, no messing around. What I liked most about this book is that it revealed hidden and new things about human emotions and the depth of abuse. It took on and conquered so many things in such a short amount of pages.

I read In the miso soup a few years ago and that was my first book by "this" Murakami. While Miso was definitely more exciting and had you on the edge of your seat a little more, psychologically this book do

Il romanzo in sé è ben scritto e incentrato su un argomento che non lascia indifferenti.
La violenza è molto schietta e viene presentata senza mezze misure. Se questo non mi ha disturbato, avrei preferito una maggior introspezione dei personaggi, del protagonista in particolare. Traspare la sua complessità e la motivazione che lo spinge a comportarsi in un certo modo, ma l'analisi viene lasciata al lettore, la trama si incentra sugli accadimenti.
Comunque, un libro meritevole.
Scott Brook
A nice quick read, although with a rather dark and sadistic tone. The plot is rather simple. A damaged man with an urge to kill picks his first victim not knowing that she is just as or even more damaged. Cat and mouse ensues. Worth a read. However, if the reader has weak stomach, I would not recommend doing this while eating, as I did. Some pretty graphic depictions are included.
Austin Storm
If I had read a description of this I likely would not have read it. I picked this up because it was short, and because I confused him for the other Murakami, the 1Q84 one. Yes, that sort of thing happens to me. This is the one who wrote the book that became the movie Audition. So in the end I feel like I got off easy, relatively.

Two deranged, sexually completely f-ed people meet and try to kill each other. Frequent mentions of songs and brand names - a little Easton Ellis.

The prose isn't stil
Chilly SavageMelon
A novella really, a really quick and eerily great read. Murakami returns to his 'Audition' (also film version) territory where creepy guy must be careful what he wishes for. Flushing out the horror with psychological insight and horribly human back story, making the weirdos so much more real. I love the dark stuff, and love it all the more when done well.

I recommend this to anyone who enjoyed Kirino's "Out", though the tale is not as complex. And further push newer readers beginning here with th
Jeremy Kitchen
It takes a lot to make me squeamish. There are scenes in this novel where I had to set the book down for a minute. The "finger" scene at the hotel being one of them. Lame Larens loves this book. LL is a creep.
My first read for Ryu Murakami....
How was it ?....well
Right in the middle of the story I took my purse and went to the bookstore to get his other books coz I know if I didn't I would kick myself in the head later on....
The story was AWESOME...a gory kind of Awesome really ...which is what I love in Japanese stories...they get under your skin....
It's dark and psychotic....and how some minds work in the most bizarre way...
Murakami's way of writing is really gripping...he doesn't go into details ye
Piercing is a gripping albeit disturbing book. Set in Tokyo, the main characters - a seemingly schizophrenic 29-year-old man and an S&M prostitute who self-mutilates - are both deeply scarred from being abused as children. I won't give any more away about the plot, but in my opinion, it is a gripping read and I couldn't put it down. Read in one sitting, and its storyline stayed with me throughout and after.
However, I wouldn't recommend it to younger people (I'm on the younger side of things
Shawn (ThatOneEnglishGradStudent)
This is my second book from this author, and I have to say I liked it better than the first (which was Audition). The two main characters, as well as the whole premise in general, are deliciously twisted people who almost sort of belong together in a way. I can't speak to whether this translation is particularly good or bad, but I can say I was able to follow it easily; I'm sure there are a few things here and there that are lost in translation, but there wasn't anything that left me scratching ...more
M.Y. David
Piercing is a one-of-a-kind tale describing a young man's desires, his urges and his double life. He is (happily?) married, with a beautiful wife and has recently become a father to a young girl; however, although he loves his young daughter dearly, he wants to pierce her flesh, feel that he HAS to pierce her flesh, just a little.

Realising that this is not simply a random feeling, he decides to take action in order to get the feeling "out of his sytem", so he spends some time researching a place
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Ryū Murakami (村上 龍) is a Japanese novelist and filmmaker. He is not related to Haruki Murakami or Takashi Murakami.

Murakami's first work, the short novel Almost Transparent Blue, written while he was still a student, deals with promiscuity and drug use among disaffected Japanese youth. Critically acclaimed as a new style of literature, it won the newcomer's literature prize in 1976 despite some ob
More about Ryū Murakami...
In the Miso Soup Coin Locker Babies Almost Transparent Blue Audition 69

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“In heated rooms, he often felt the outlines of his body, the border between him and the external world, grow disturbingly fuzzy.” 8 likes
“Who knew there were still people like that in this world, though? Everybody wants to talk about themselves, and everybody wants to hear everybody else's story, so we take turns playing reporter and celebrity. 'It must have made you very sad when your own father raped you - can you describe some of your feelings at the time? Yes, I wept and wept, wonder why something like this had to happen to me'. It's like that. Everyone's running around comparing wounds, like bodybuilders showing off their muscles. And what's really unbelievable is that they really believe they can heal the wounds like that, just by putting them on display.” 5 likes
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