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3.70  ·  Rating details ·  570 ratings  ·  137 reviews
A tense, powerful thriller from the bestselling author of Six Four

1985. Kazumasa Yuuki, a seasoned reporter at the North Kanto Times, runs a daily gauntlet of the power struggles and office politics that plague its newsroom. But when an air disaster of unprecedented scale occurs on the paper’s doorstep, its staff is united by an unimaginable horror and a once-in-a-lifetime
Paperback, 368 pages
Published November 26th 2019 by Picador USA (first published August 25th 2003)
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  570 ratings  ·  137 reviews

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Dec 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author Hideo Yokoyama has been described as a crime author who says that the crime is the least interesting part of his books. As a reader, you need to bear this in mind; as this is very much a novel described as a ‘thriller,’ which is much more interested in the aftermath of events, and – in particular – the way events are covered by the press, than in the air crash, which is central to the plot.

Indeed, Yokoyama worked as a journalist on a regional newspaper, in the same way that the main
Widyanto Gunadi
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If by any chance, you picked up this book hoping that you will get to read an action-packed, adrenaline-fueled, strenuously thrilling novel, then it is indubitably probable, that your enjoyment during the entire course of examination of the manuscript may deteriorate enormously. This novel neatly elucidates a drama-filled, politically-charged, detailed accounts of the inner workings and procedures, that dwell inside the crackerjack world of newspaper writing. Your personal view, perception, and ...more
Sep 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read, japan
Don't believe the blurb! This is not an "investigative thriller" about how and why the biggest plane crash in Japanese history occurred, it's a newsroom drama about a bunch of journalists trying to cover the event, which puts them in numerous moral predicaments: 520 passengers have died, and what is a major tragedy for their friends and families is the chance of a lifetime for local reporters - everybody wants to be the first to report from the crashsite on a remote mountain, the coverage of ...more
Kate~Bibliophile Book Club
Couldn’t get on with this one at all sadly. It was very dense and detail-heavy. I’ll get back to it again another time maybe, but for now it didn’t work for me!
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always had a fascination with Japan, as well as Japanese authors, with my favourite writer, Haruki Murakami, hailing from that part of the world, so it was an easy decision to read SEVENTEEN. I love to learn about different cultures and this title educated me in a way that fit within the story, just like Yokoyama's previous release, SIX FOUR, which I also enjoyed immensely.

I found the story incredibly addictive, and written in an easy to read style that grabs you and doesn't let you go.
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was on the BTBA longlist. I had skipped over Six Four, last year since I was not tempted by the thought of a police procedural. I will reconsider that having now read Seventeen.
The novel focuses on a local newspaper man who is elevated to assignment editor for the story of a jumbo jet airliner crash in the newspaper's prefecture and is based on the author's own experiences. The novel then becomes a masterpiece of tensions and resolutions that range from political rivalries at the
Trigger warnings: plane crash, violence, mental health.

The second I heard what this book was about, I was intrigued. I read Six Four last year and found it somewhat confusing but largely enjoyable. This one I enjoyed more for reasons I can't quite put my finger on.

Having now read two books by Hideo Yokoyama, I've come to realise that his stories are veeeeeeery character driven and not huge on plot. Which isn't a bad thing, it's just that when you read the blurbs, you expect far more plot than
Mar 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asia, 2019
Definitely not a thriller, imo, but more of a delving into the psyche of the news cycle in times of disaster, as well as an inner look at a middle-aged journalist assessing his life. It held a few surprises & grew on me more & more as I read. A book that would most likely appeal to middle-aged people because of some of the musings in there -- good life decisions, bad life decisions, just going through the motions, regrets, impermanence, facing the past & the future, etc. Probably ...more
This wasn’t what I was expecting. It was all about internal politics in a newsroom as they plot how to cover the story of a plane crash (including where to place the ads). The reporters jealously guard their turfs. I made it a third of the way through and the book showed no signs of getting more interesting so I skimmed to the end. Despite the depiction of the newsroom, the book winds up being smugly self congratulatory about the reporters. This book just wasn’t for me. I received a free copy of ...more
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seventeen bills itself as "an investigative thriller in the aftermath of an air disaster". Truly, it isn't.

Instead, Seventeen is a competent and intriguing evocation of the inner workings of a local Japanese newspaper, the North Kanto Times, using the backdrop of an air disaster on the paper's doorstep to allow simmering resentments and rivalries to boil over. We are introduced to Kazumasa Yuuki, who is trying to make an ascent on Tsuitate rock face some seventeen years after making a promise to
Mary Picken
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ow. This was an immersive and utterly compelling read. Though billed as a mystery, it isn’t really; it is literary fiction, and damned fine literary fiction at that. Not that classification matters when a book is as good as this one.

Seventeen is one of those books that stay with you. On one level it is a fascinating insight into the workings of a small daily newspaper with all the tensions, infighting and personality conflicts that come from a group of people working together. Overlaying that is
Roman Clodia
'Five hundred and twenty four people died on that mountain. That sparkling mountain.'

The blurb that promises 'an investigative thriller' isn't doing this book any favours. There's no real investigation, nor much to thrill - instead we have a thoughtful piece about newspaper politics and the impact that reporting on an air disaster has on a group of reporters and others. Setting expectations clearly would help receptions of this book.

There's something very Japanese about the way the present story
Stephen Douglas Rowland
A major disappointment. Yokoyama's "Six Four" is one of my favorite Japanese novels, which is all the more striking (to me) since I often don't care for the country's contemporary literature. "Seventeen," his second book to be published in English, is shockingly lame, trite (even cloying), predictable, and not all that interesting. I rushed to snag a copy from the UK because I simply could not wait for the US release, began reading it a couple months ago, and gave up for several weeks because it ...more
Alison Hardtmann
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
On the day that Yuuki was scheduled to meet his best friend, Anzai, and go on a short climbing holiday, a plane crashes into the mountains, killing over 500 people. As the senior reporter for a local provincial paper, Yuuki stays in the office and is put in charge of the paper's coverage of the crash. Anzai also doesn't make it to the meeting point. He collapses on a city street and is taken to the hospital where he lays in a coma.

What follows is an intense procedural novel about how the news
Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
3.5 stars. Though marketed as crime/thriller this book could be more accurately described as a drama. There isn't a crime to be solved (though there is a historically accurate plane crash) and all the action and tension occurs within the office of a newspaper as interpersonal drama.

The story is told through two timelines, one in the present day where protagonist Yuuki is 57 years old an attempting a difficult rock climbing challenge with the son of an old friend who has recently died. The other
Trisha Perry
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This investigative thriller bounces between two times of seasoned reporter Kazumasa Yuuki life, one time seven days of non stop office politics and power struggles the likes of which we here in the states might not totally understand, just to get the story of his life. The other time 17 years later, during a trip he is taking to fulfill promises he made during those 7 days to fight some of his own doubts and demons, not to mention to answer some unanswered questions still plaguing him from that ...more
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I'm gonna be a bit bias here cause this is one of my favorite genre and it was written in a way that every bits worth reading to me. Be it in a hectic messy scene or during a freaking heated argument between Yuuki and Todoroki at the barbecue place, it was so vivid, so real so descriptive yet very intriguing. How Yuuki reminiscing every inch of last seventeen years incident, so gripping and tense. I love the narratives that it always gave me that emotional, nervous and exciting feelings at the ...more
This story gives the reader a look into a Japanese newsroom following the tragic crash of JAL flight 123. It also has a mountain climbing subplot that I don't think linked well with the rest of the story -- at least I didn't see how it did, other than to build some suspense and at the end, closure. Perhaps it reflects the life is often messy and complicated. The character glossary at the end and the newsroom flow chart in the inside cover were very helpful to keep track of all the characters. ...more
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: miscellany
I read Hideo Yokoyama’s Six Four at the start of 2018. I was expecting it to be one thing (a dense, layered murder mystery) and instead got another (a character study and bureaucracy-heavy police procedural). It wasn’t what I would normally read but I appreciated that it was something different. I appreciated the inflections of the main character and how Yokoyama could inject such nuance about life in Japan in the midst of a professional crisis.

I had difficulty focusing in the beginning of
Lewis Szymanski
I received this in a Goodreads giveaway.

A thoughtful piece about newspaper politics and the effect that reporting on an air disaster has on a group of reporters and others. Seventeen is about Japan’s deadliest airline accident (the very real JAL flight 123 that went down in 1985) but from the point of view of the editorial department of a regional newspaper that spends a week fighting over how the paper should cover each new revelation. This story is interspersed with the return of the editor
Pavitra (For The Love of Fictional Worlds)

Disclaimer: A Physical Copy was provided via Hachette India. The Thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are however my own.

Actual Rating: 3.75 Stars

I have always had quite the fascination with Japanese culture and yet I find it astounding that I have yet to read any book that is based in Japan or written by a Japanese author. So when the chance came up to read and review this “investigative thriller”; I jumped at the chance to get my hands on it!

Seventeen’s blurbis
Rajeshwari Singh
Seventeen is the story of a guy named Yuuki who works as a reporter for a local newspaper. The story is set in Japan. Now, Yuuki is a person with a very complex life. It is hard for him to control his emotions or portray them. He gets annoyed and angry very easily. At home, he has a small family with an understanding wife and two children in their teens. Yuuki wants and tries really hard to communicate with them but things just don't work out, especially between him and his son, Jun. Yuuki ...more
Avinash Sagar
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hideo San has churned out probably one of the best journalism epic, I have ever read. The book is a private pass to the North Kanto Times (NKT) newsroom for all of seven days the Japan Airlines Crash was being reported. It’s the closest account of how a newspaper company works. The book explores how employees in different departments evolve into distinct personalities, because of the varied standards of journalism ethics. Hideo san’s journalism finesse is at display when he lays out the twisted ...more
Ira Therebel
I have no idea how this book was labeled a thriller, mystery or crime. I was waiting for it to happen but halfway into the book I realized that it probably never will. This doesn't mean that I didn't like the book. I really liked it. Actually I think I liked it more than I would if it was what I expected.

The book is about a local newspaper covering a major plane crash in their region in 1985. This is pretty much the plot. But I don't want people avoid reading it because of it. When reading it
Mark Wheaton
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extraordinary book. If “Six Four” purported to be a book about a cold case serial killer story and a cop’s missing daughter - but the actual drama of the thing turned on the political in-fighting of the department and the day-to-day minutiae of police department press relations, “Seventeen” is about Japan’s deadliest airline accident (the very real JAL flight 123 that went down in 1985) but from the point of view of the editorial department of a regional newspaper that spends a week fighting ...more
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, fiction
I won this book on Goodreads.

Much of this novel flows smoothly in a page-turning way, but every once in awhile there are lapses, gaps. The plot jumps from backstory to present and I think means to be a mystery, but the revelations are not that exciting or surprising. The character development is especially good, but it can't disguise the lack of substance in the twists of the story. I was particularly let down by the pivotal substory of the publication of a controversial letter in the newspaper
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another really strong novel by Hideo Yokoyama, even if it doesn't quite reach the heights that Six Four reached a couple years ago. Similarly to that novel, Seventeen shocked me by making the internal political workings of a small local newspaper exciting.

And despite there not being a real "mystery" at the center of the novel there is still tons of tension. The greatest challenge for me with Yokoyama's novels has been the sheer number of characters. His cast of characters at the beginning is
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A fascinating novel of individual and organizational responses to a disaster. The story takes place at a small newspaper office which is the epicenter for reporting on the the world's deadliest airplane crash. Yokoyama shows how a new generation accepts and then takes responsibility of doing the best job they can for the sake of the community, and this responsibility means that the leader of the younger generation needs to overcome the cultural resistance of showing up the older generation, ...more
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The second book I have read by this author, and my favourite of the two. Though it’s a big book and very detailed compared to some Japanese fiction, I found it engaging and I enjoyed the look at running a newspaper in 80’s Japan. The current day bits with the mountain climbing were also more interesting than I would have expected.
A good look at the demands of work and effect on family life as well as friendship and finding peace in your choices later in life.
I Read, Therefore I Blog
Hideo Yokoyama’s novel (translated from Japanese by Louise Heal Kawai and originally published in Japan in 2003) is being mis-marketed as an investigative thriller but is more of a literary historical piece looking at journalism in the 80s and it’s office politics while tagging in a limp middle-aged man in crisis plot such that while it’s an okay read it never catches fire and doesn’t offer much that’s new.
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Hideo Yokoyama (横山 秀夫) worked as an investigative reporter with a regional newspaper north of Tokyo for 12 years before striking out on his own as a fiction writer. He made his literary debut in 1998 when his collection of police stories Kage no kisetsu (Season of Shadows) won the Matsumoto Seicho Prize; the volume was also short-listed for the Naoki Prize. In 2000 his story Doki (Motive) was ...more
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“The media might pretend that every life was of equal importance, but they selected people, graded them, decided whether their lives were -- as Ayako put it -- "heavy" or "lightweight," then imposed that set of values on society.

The death of a famous person. And the death of someone who wasn't.

A tragic death. And one that wasn't.”
“People's lives. There are big lives and little lives, aren't there? ... Heavy lives and lightweight lives; important lives, and lives that are... not.” 1 likes
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