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3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  2,134 ratings  ·  190 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
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126th out of 386 books — 1,712 voters
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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...more
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
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...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
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...more
Ruby  Tombstone [Uncensored or Else]
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...more
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 "......more
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
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...more
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
No estoy muy segura de por qué empecé a leer este libro. Sí, la premisa me atrapó: la idea de un hombre que cada noche debe luchar con la idea de asesinar a su hija recién nacida y que de repente tiene esta revelación donde reconoce que, para no hacerlo, debe matar a otra mujer; hay que reconocer que lo anterior es muy interesante.

Después tenemos la historia del niño que fue abusado y que para soportar eso se separó de sí mismo creando dos versiones de él dentro de su cuerpo. Uno que ama a su f...more
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
Razvan Zamfirescu
Comod în fotoliu. Deschid cartea. Un tip, Kawashima Masayuki, stă aplecat asupra copilului său cu un spărgător de gheaṭă în mână. Un impuls iraṭional puternic îl face să „vegheze” astfel asupra pruncului. Trebuie să-l omoare pentru a retrăi un episod din adolescenṭă. Suferă de paver nocturnus. Ṣi ṣtie că dacă aceste fantasme vor continua, copilul său nu are scăpare.
Kawashima îṣi iubeṣte copilul ṣi soṭia, însă vocile vor sânge, amintirile vor piele despicată, viitorul său cere un cadavru. Astfel...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.
Jessica Smith
All I can really say is this was an extremely well written, somewhat short, story. In 180 or so pages, Murakami made me relate to the characters in this book fairly well as I've experienced similar childhood situations as Chiaki, while being able to empathize with Kawashima over his call of the void. It taps into the very darkness of our mind, the parts we try to push away and write off as being crazy, while acknowledging that we all have our own demons and people aren't so different from one an...more
Amazing. I don't even know what else to say. A couple who has been married for years finally have a baby! They take turns in taking care of the baby while the other one's at work; nothing so abnormal there. It's just that every night, for ten days straight, the father of the baby girl has been trying to contain himself from stabbing his own daughter with an ice pick. He realizes that the only way to solve this is to recollect his memories from the past as an abused child, and reconcile it with h...more
I only finished this book because I wanted to know if a certain character was going to bite it by the end. I was not satisfied.
Alice Ughi
Kawasama Mayasuki is a typical middle-aged Japanese man: married, with a daughter and apparently happy. However a secret from his past is stalking him. The same happens to Sanada Chiaki the feminine main character of the story. This is a nice short psychological thriller, well written and absorbing, that left the reader puzzled about the human identity. Even if is not the best thriller book I've read, I enjoyed reading it and I would like to read "Almost transparent blue" and "In the miso soup"...more
I REALLY liked the start and middle of this book and had the ending been better, I would have given it 5 stars. Now I'm hovering somewhere around 4.25. I liked how the characters were BOTH deeply flawed, but I expected the ending to be a bit more of what I've come to expect from Murakami, which is to say, graphically violent. There, I said it. And maybe, for some people, or other cultures, piercings ARE terribly horrifying, but it isn't on the level of pulling teeth, or the cold snap of the Achi...more
H. Bettison
This is the first book I've read by Ryu Murakami and I'm definitely going to read more. It drew me in right from the beginning, but I enjoy dark twisted stories. The writing was excellent and even though I personally couldn't relate to the characters, I'm sure everyone who knows me is glad to hear that, I wanted to know what would happen next.

The story revolves around a graphic designer with a troubled past and his obsession with stabbing someone with an icepick. He's actually done this before,...more
Ben Eldridge
Piercing is an interesting experiment that doesn't quite succeed. The extreme psychological dysfunction of the two central characters - both scarred irreparably by almost unspeakable childhood abuse - creates a world of sickness and depravity which the short novel goes some way toward capturing. It's an uncomfortable read by design, and the flitting between multiple perspectives that characterises the final stages of the book is brilliantly devised, and the confusion that results in unclear psyc...more

When Masayuki Kawashima, a deeply scarred 29 year old hiding under the cover of normalcy, decides to follow through on urges to stab a woman with an ice pick, he finds himself meeting an equally damaged young woman and sending them both on a spiral that neither of them can escape.

Piercing isn't a particularly accessible read, in part because of the confronting subject material, and in part because it's difficult to feel any empathy for either one of the main characters. Murakami peeks into the...more
Ten nights ago. He was in the bathtub with the baby, having just finished washing her. He handed her over to Yoko, who was waiting with a fluffy bath towel, and then he leaned back in the tub, leaving the pebbled-glass shower door partially open. Yoko was murmuring to the baby as she dried her, and he was aware of himself smiling at them. And then, with no prelude or warning, a thought came percolating up into his brain and he felt the muscles of his cheeks twitch and freeze.

I wouldn’t ever stab
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Creepy! 1 29 Jun 29, 2008 09:51PM  
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Ryū Murakami 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 observers...more
More about Ryū Murakami...
In the Miso Soup Coin Locker Babies Almost Transparent Blue Audition 69 (Kodansha Modern Writers)

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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.” 6 likes
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