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The Gun

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  614 ratings  ·  135 reviews
In Tokyo a college student’s discovery and eventual obsession with a stolen handgun awakens something dark inside him and threatens to consume not only his life but also his humanity. Nakamura’s Japanese debut is a noir-spun tale that probes the violence inherent to aesthetics.

On a nighttime walk along a Tokyo riverbank, a young man named Nishikawa stumbles on a dead body,
Hardcover, 198 pages
Published January 5th 2016 by Soho Crime (first published 2003)
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Cris N. I haven't read this novel yet, but my understanding is that they aren't the same characters, since the only other novel connected to The Thief is The…moreI haven't read this novel yet, but my understanding is that they aren't the same characters, since the only other novel connected to The Thief is The Kingdom (which will come out this summer). (less)

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3.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  614 ratings  ·  135 reviews

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Mar 16, 2019 rated it liked it
The Gun is the second book I’ve read by master of “Zen Noir” Fuminori Nakamura (but actually the first book he wrote). I found the previous novel I read, The Thief, to be something of a masterpiece. It was as bleak and nihilistic as they come, to such an overwhelming extent that I had to keep putting it down. It was a rather unpleasant little book, but somehow still beautiful and truly noteworthy. While I couldn’t recommend it to everyone, I personally loved it.

Well, don’t go into this one expec
Boy, this one was real intense.

'The gun was breathtakingly beautiful as ever. The girl I had just slept with was no comparison for the gun'

Here, I finish all the Nakamura novellas translated to English. While I always loved these short books by him, something would turn me off at some point. Mostly it was lack of detail, or unoriginal translation. But, The Gun goes straight to my favorites. I'm always fascinated by these Japanese books, be it Murakami (the less popular one - Ryu), Kirino, Higash
Sam Quixote
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
A university student out walking one night stumbles across a gangster’s corpse and a loaded gun. He pockets the gun and proceeds to go coo-coo bananas over it, slowly deciding that he needs to fire it - at someone. Just ‘cos Chekhov’s rule I guess!

The Gun is not a very good novel. Despite being relatively short at 200 pages, almost all of it is unnecessary filler. There’s a side story involving the student’s dying biological father in a hospital that doesn’t go anywhere; he picks his targets ar
Jessica Woodbury
I have a soft spot for noir and a soft spot for Japanese crime fiction, so this was an easy pick. Japanese noir works well in THE GUN, with the detached emotional style of a noir, the slowly building narrative, the plot that gets gradually more complex. But THE GUN gives us that old noir style in a very modern setting. There are cell phones and ballistics labs and all kinds of 21st century trappings in this story of a college student who stumbles on a body and a gun.

His attachment to the gun is
2 1/2 to 3 stars (I'm wavering here because I like this writer so much and his style-focused on psychological intensity, sometimes to the expense of all else-generally really works for me).

While translated and released in English well after better-known Nakamura works like The Thief and Evil and the Mask, The Gun is the author's first published work. Readers familiar with Nakamura's novels will observe that many elements of his mature style are already present here: the close, almost obsessive f
Lark Benobi
The storytelling follows a satisfying if predictable noir arc; the real dazzle for me isn't in the storytelling, though, but in the grotesque details, meticulously observed and reported by the narrator, about both humans and animals that he observes in pain throughout the novel. This is Nakamura's first novel and it demonstrates a lot of self-control and natural talent for pacing.
This author deserves the term ‘Japanese noir’. Excellent novel, though very different from most of the thrillers one usually reads. Especially the athmosphere and the MC are very well described.
Strangely enough I’m rereading L'Étranger at the moment and the ressemblence between both MC was striking.
Neko Neha (BiblioNyan)
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japanese-lit, library
The Gun by Fuminori Nakamura is an #OwnVoices Japanese psychological thriller novel that I was eager to pick up after reading another one of the author’s works, from the same genre, called Last Winter, We Parted, more so since The Gun is his debut work. While I was not entirely sure what to expect, I know that I did not believe it would be as multi-faceted as it was in terms of the myriad themes explored and the intensity of an event that did not feel like it could be construed as supremely ...more
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an extraordinarily bleak and gripping debut about a student - alienated, disaffected. He finds a gun - and little by little the gun eats into his being, takes him over. He sleeps with a girl whose name he can’t remember (she gives him toast so he enters her in his phone under T for Toast Girl), meets another girl whom he thinks he might fancy .. but the gun is always there, crying out first to be carried around, then to be fired .... The extraordinary thing is that we actually get to car ...more
The Gun by Fuminori Nakamura reads like a short, interesting case study of a hapless, overbearing young college male student and his self destructive mentality, but the is really bizarre and unsatisfying. 3 stars only.
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I picked this up in an audible sale purely by chance. Nevertheless heard of the author previously and will definately explore more by him.

I was transfixed throughout; a short 4 hour read about a dysfunctional young student who finds a gun purely by chance one day and how it overwhelms his life.

Described as “Noir” but great literature too. Loved it.
May 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an unsettling one, I'm sure deliberately. It feels a little nightmarish, and definitely has a pull. It's got an oddness to it that is very interesting. I definitely need to check out more Nakamura.
Well, that was...
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: noir, translated
I didn't get the money and I didn't get the woman.

This is definitely a book that appears better in the rear view mirror. While Fuminori Nakamura's debut novel The Gun passes my "Double Indemnity test" of great noir stories, its execution fell completely flat to me.

I partially blame the translation. The dialogue was extremely stilted in English. None of the characters sounded like real people. I have some passing knowledge of Japanese and can tell most of this is due to an almost literal transl
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Out walking one rainy night, nihilistic college student Nishikawa finds a corpse and, beside it, a gun. On impulse he steals the gun, which he discovers still has four bullets left in it. Over the succeeding weeks he becomes obsessed with the weapon, polishing it lovingly and slowly coming to the realization that merely possessing a gun isn't enough. Meanwhile, he's having sex-on-demand with a girl whose name we never learn and whom he seems not even to like or fancy very much, while at the same ...more
Will E
Dec 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Nakamura is not my favorite writer/stylist (seems to come from the Murakami no-style school of "Tell, not show"), and yet this was an extremely readable portrait of a young sociopath. Despite some flat writing, Nakamura has a keen eye for character and pace; becomes a real page-turner in the latter half. Enjoyed this more than The Thief, which also had good character work, but I found plot wise to be a little cliched.
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a very dark book. It is very well written for what it is-but it's not really a book I'd recommend to others. The book is really about THE GUN. A guy finds a gun and his whole being, personna, emotions,etc. all suddenly revolve around the gun. And it goes from him being in control of the gun to the gun controlling him.
Marina Sofia
Dec 14, 2015 rated it liked it
An extended metaphor about how owning a weapon sparks violent behaviour and an insight into the inner workings of an obsessive psychopath. Disturbing progression of detachment from the world around him. Suspenseful moments alternate with an odd apathy, but the 'flat' storytelling style works well with the noir, existential context.
Joe Santoro
May 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller-caper
This book is definitely not what I expected... I was expecting a noir book with a Japanese tint, but really it's a character sketch.

The book is written in the first person, and follows a bored, frustrated college student as he finds a gun on the ground and what possessing the weapon does to his mental state.

I can see that Nakamura could write a more traditional noir book.... the detective that makes a brief appearance is a fun, Columbo-like character that was FAR more likeable that the main char
Dec 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
If there is such a genre as “paranoid noir,” then THE GUN is it. Fuminori Nakamura is making a name for himself here in the States and rightfully so. His first book to be translated to English, THE THIEF, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. THE GUN isn’t for those readers who expect nonstop action. This is a book to be savored, and yes, you’ll white-knuckle it but not due to an adrenaline rush so much as the impending dread that something horrible is going to happen. Nakamura ex ...more
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
الاستاذ فومينوري هو اكتشاف هذا العام، ويبدو أننا سنتابع قراءة كتب أخرى له.

الرواية عن طالب جامعي يجد قتيلًا قرب نهر وقربه مسدس. يأخذ المسدس، فتتغير حياته. يتحسن أداؤه الجامعي والاجتماعي وحتى الجنسي. ويبدو مهجوسًا بفكرة المسدس. يبدأ بالنظر إليه، ثم تنظيفه ثم اكتشاف أجزائه حتى يبدأ يفكر باستخدامه.

رحلة noir في عقل شاب عشريني يعاني من الملل ويأتي المسدس ليعطيه سببًا لوجوده ويحوله لانسان مضطرب عقليًا. رواية حديثة أخرى عن ملل العشريين وكآبتهم وأزماتهم الوجدانية وبحثهم عن مجالات لتحققهم، وطبعًا اليابان
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: japanese-fiction
Shitboy McGarbageperson finds a gun and can't get over himself about it, has awkward sex with really ugly girls, acts like a douche to his friends and family, and is therefore an ideal protagonist of modern Japanese literature how odd
Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman-noir
ça va être ça ma chronique de Revolver XD
Je ne sais pas trop quoi penser de ce roman ce qui rend assez frustrée. J'ai vraiment adoré certains passages et la manière dont le protagoniste plonge insidieusement dans le folie mais d'autres passages m'ont laissé perplexe.
Dans l'ensemble, j'ai bien apprécié ma lecture d'où les 3 étoiles mais je me demande si je ne suis pas un peu passée à côté de quelque chose même si j'ai adoré l'aspect psychologique.
Jun 09, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. This is the second novel I have read by Nakamura. He is really talented and has a very unique style and structure to his writing. The Gun centers around a young man who stumbles across a dead man with a gun near him. He impulsively steals the gun and soon becomes obsessed with it. It changes the way he thinks, acts and lives his life. The gun makes him feel powerful but it becomes a character of its own and the young man begins to lose control over his thoughts. Soon he becomes obsess ...more
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Marija S.
I felt like I was reading a mashup between "Crime and Punishment" and "Stranger" written by a far less talented writer.

Drinking game idea; have a shot everytime somebody has ot mentiones coffee.
Cris N.
"The Gun" was a bit disappointing compared to Fuminori Nakamura's other novels that I read - "The Thief" and "Evil and the Mask", both of which were incredible. It's still something I would recommend if you want to read a book that critiques all the gun rights obsessions you can find in America, or if you're a big Nakamura fan (like me).

The story was actually compelling and interesting enough to read through, but the characters weren't very well done since most of them - excluding the detective
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
The aspects of style I enjoyed most about Nakamura's The Kingdom, visual descriptions of setting and the narrator's capricious internal dialogue, are present in The Gun too. However, this novel had a more complete plot than The Kingdom, ending with clear resolution.
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
An empty, almost robotic young man finds a gun. He is suddenly in possession of joy and purpose and pleasure and power. His entire existence becomes focused on the has given an empty life meaning. Look out....this can't end well.
Dec 31, 2015 rated it liked it
My first introduction to Japanese crime writer Fuminori Nakamura was in 2012 when I read his prize-winning novella The Thief, an extraordinary story about a pickpocket who targets the rich and helps the poor.

The Gun is another prize-winning book by the same author. It was Nakamura’s debut novel, originally published in hardcover in Japan in 2003 and now published in English for the first time.

The simple story is about a college student, Nishikawa, who finds a handgun at a crime scene, inexplicab
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His debut novel (The Gun) won the Shinchō New Author Prize in 2002. Also received the Noma Prize for New Writers in 2004 for Shakō [The Shade]. Winner of the Akutagawa Prize in 2005 for Tsuchi no naka no kodomo (Child in the Ground). Suri (Pickpocket) won the Ōe Kenzaburō Prize in 2010. His other works include Sekai no Hate (The Far End of the World), Ōkoku (Kingdom), and Meikyū (Labyrinth).

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