Fiction King
Author: Kazumasa Hayami
Specifications: ISBN  978-4093864404
304 pages
13.4 x 19.7 cm / 5.3 x 7.8 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Shogakukan Inc.
Tokyo, 2016
www.shogakukan.co.jp
Buy now: amazon.co.jp

Synopsis

Shuntarō is a literary editor for a major publishing house. His childhood friend Toyotaka is a novelist who made a spectacular debut while still in college but has had no notable successes since. They promised each other back in their student days that they would find a project to work on together sometime, but the years have rolled by and now they are both 34 years old.

One day Toyotaka gets into an argument with his boss at the family restaurant where he works to pay the rent, and ends up quitting. He decides to try to support himself entirely with his writing, but he lacks either the skill or the name recognition to make it work, and his circumstances quickly deteriorate. Shuntarō steps in to suggest that he should pick up on the theme of parricide that stood out in his debut work, and use that as the centerpiece of a new work. Toyotaka dives in enthusiastically and is making good progress when Shuntarō receives word that his company is shutting down the literary magazine he edits.

Not wanting to leave Toyotaka hanging, Shuntarō approaches an IT company with an idea for a three-author “shoot out” on the parricide theme to be published on its social media platform—with Toyotaka being one of the authors. The project is green-lighted. Then Shuntarō also manages to get an endorsement from a major film actress Toyotaka had been associated with romantically in the past. After many twists and turns his story is indeed published, and even gets nominated for a prize.

Other characters in the story include Gen Sakakida, Shuntarō’s boss, whose successes as a manga editor are said to have erected an entire building for his employer, and big-name novelist Mitsuki Uchiyama. Something both the two main characters and these secondary characters—the de facto antagonists—hold in common is a tremendous passion for their literary endeavors. As it portrays with compelling realism the fervent efforts of editors and authors working together to bring out titles that strike a chord with the reading public, the story gives the lie to suggestions that Japanese publishing is suffering through a “literary winter.”