The Investigation

The Investigation

Book - 2015
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"Watanbe Yuichi, a young guard with a passion for reading, is ordered to investigate a murder. The victim, Sugiyama, also a guard, was feared and despised throughout the prison and inquiries have barely begun when a powerful inmate confesses. But Watanbe is unconvinced; and as he interrogates both the suspect and Yun Dong-ju, a talented Korean poet, he starts to realize that the fearsome guard was not all he appeared to be. As Watanbe unravels Sugiyama's final months, he begins to discover what is really going on inside this dark and violent institution, which few inmates survive: a man who will stop at nothing to dig his way to freedom; a governor whose greed knows no bounds; a little girl whose kite finds an unlikely friend. And Yun Dong-ju--the poet whose works hold such beauty the can break the hardest of hearts. As the war moves towards its devastating close and bombs rain down upon the prison, Watanbe realizes that he must find a way to protect Yun Dong-ju, no matter what it takes. As he digs further and further in to his investigation, the young guard discovers a devastating truth"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Pegasus Books, 2015
Edition: First Pegasus books hardcover edition
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781605988467
Characteristics: 325 pages ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Kim, Chi-Young - Translator


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Mar 28, 2016

A bizarre mix of war, prison life, poetry, kite-flying and music. Somehow poems cure brutality. If only it were so.

Oct 28, 2015

The poetry of Dong Ju and the prose of JM Lee are a delight. The story feels allegorical because it requires suspension of disbelief and common sense – as exemplified by choosing an illiterate to become the prison censor, teaching him to read and write and thereby giving him the soul of a poet. That seems so unlikely, but it does not matter, enjoy the beautiful prose that glows among the ugliness of a brutal prison.

Sep 16, 2015

The book contains many layers of narration - war, prison, murder mystery, poetry, beauty, and philosophy. As it kept developing, the narration became deeper and more satisfying. The first poem by Yun Dong-Yu, a real life celebrated Korean poet, comes on a piece of paper from a pocket of a dead man. At that moment we don't know yet how impossible was to get paper at the Japanese prison, don't know yet fully how brutal this prison was, and how fully alive the poet would become to the reader through the very end.

Self Portrait

Alone, I round the bend of the mountain to the solitary
well by the rice paddy and look quietly down.

In the well the moon is bright, and clouds drift and the
sky is vast and blue wind blows and it is autumn,

And there is a man.
I leave, disliking him for some unknown reason.

On the second thought I pity him.
I return and look down; he is still there.

Again I leave, disliking him.
On second thought I start to miss him.

In the well the moon is bright and clouds drift and the
sky is vast and the blue wind blows and it is autumn
and there is a man, like a memory.

multcolib_susannel Aug 31, 2015

Even though the warden has a confession, he orders a young inexperienced guard to investigate the gruesome murder of a fellow guard who was found hung upside down with a poem buttoned into his shirt pocket.
What does it mean?


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