Waiting in a Dark Place

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Waiting in a Dark Place
Author: Otsuichi
Specifications: ISBN  978-4344402146
262 pages
10.0 x 15.0 cm / 4.0 x 6.0 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Gentosha Inc.
Tokyo, 2002
Buy now: amazon.co.jp


Left blind in an accident, Michiru Honma drops out of college, then just a short time later loses her father, the only family she has, to a stroke. She withdraws from the world, living alone and doing nothing. One day, a murder takes place at the train station next to her house, and from then on, she begins to sense the presence of someone else in the house. She is terrified at first, but she feels no malice in the air, and there’s no telling what might happen if she makes a fuss, so she pretends not to notice. If worst comes to worst, she resolves, she will simply bite off her tongue and die. But far from harming her, the stranger actually comes to her rescue when there is a fire in the house.

Akihiro Oishi works for a printing company, but due to poor social skills remains isolated among his coworkers and is the target of bullying by Toshio Matsunaga. Going to work becomes such a trial for him that he begins to experience psychosomatic symptoms, and even entertains murderous thoughts toward Matsunaga. One morning he is an eyewitness when Matsunaga is pushed off the platform into the path of an oncoming train, and dies. Although Akihiro has indeed wished the man dead, he is in no way responsible. Yet his reflex is to flee the scene, and he becomes a wanted man. Hoping to find the person he knows is the true perpetrator of Matsunaga’s death, he recalls an acquaintance from before, the blind Michiru who lives next to the station, and decides to sneak into her house. There, he huddles in complete silence next to the living room window, barely even breathing, as he watches the comings and goings of people on the station platform below. Akihiro ultimately determines that a woman who approaches Michiru after the accident is the one who pushed Matsunaga to his death.

In the course of the two weeks they spend under the same roof, the two socially isolated individuals find comfort in each other and begin to form a tender bond.