Book The Thirty-Second

Battle Royale by Koshun Takami

The book on which the famous movie was based, wherein a class of fifteen year olds are sent to an island, given weapons, and told that the last one alive gets to go home.

Concerns were raised by an acquaintance of mine when I started reading this that it might lose something on the printed page; if you couldn’t see the gratuitous blood and the Japanese girls in short sailor skirts, what would be the appeal? Pleasantly, it was a good read. There are forty-two students, so it’s near-impossible to keep track of who’s who in the first third, but after the first twenty or so die it’s much easy to keep up.

The blurb referred to Battle Royale as a modern-day Lord of the Flies. While that might seem something of a grand claim, this book does as good a job of getting into the psyche of desperate, scared young people as does Golding’s classic, and is slightly more honest as to how psychopathic most of the little bastards are.

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