Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Edge by Koji Suzuki


(hb; 2012. Translated from the Japanese into English by Camellia Nieh and Jonathan Lloyd-Davies.)

From the inside flap

“When a team of American scientists tests a new computer hardware by calculating the value of Pi into the deep decimals, the figures begin to repeat a pattern where there ought to be none. After older machines of certified reliability give the same result. A seemingly irrational fear sets in. It’s mathematically untenable—unless the physical constants that undergird our universe have altered, ever so slightly.

“Suddenly, on the west coat of the U.S., people start disappearing without a trace. Police and family—when it isn’t the whole family that vanished—don’t have a clue as to why or how. In Japan, too, similar incidents occur, and they seem to have something to do with geological fault lines.

“TV director Hashiba who has latched onto the story, at first in a flippant manner, employing a psychic to investigate the mystery, is forced to recalibrate when the disappearances increase in scale and frequency. What lurks behind them, far from being supernatural, threatens to be natural—a profound disturbance in being itself. Joining him on his quest for the devastating answer is his lover Saeko, whose millionaire publisher father cryptically left her behind when she was still young.

“Eerie developments build up to a mind trip of a crescendo in this tale of quantum horror.”



Set in 2012, Edge is a complex, hybrid genre (science fiction, mystery, with a touch of existential horror) work with equally multilayered characters who sometimes, in good way, surprise, just like the well-foreshadowed twists in this cosmic-horrific and quiet-apocalypse read.  While the science fact, spouted in brief intervals throughout Edge, is a bit deep, prolonged and possibly dizzying for the casual reader, it elevates the story and deepens the sorrow, horror, and dark delight experienced by the characters (and hopefully readers). Like Suzuki’s Ringu (English translation: Ring), Edge possesses the same chilly, steady-build pacing mood and atmosphere of the Ringu. It, like Ringu, also is a landmark work, one that haunts (at least this reader) while it informs and entertains. Worth owning, this.

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