Eri, a Japanese Ghost Story
Martin Connolly, author
This is an original English-language ghost story set in contemporary Japan, involving only Japanese characters. The time period is around the mid-nineties, before the advent of mobile phones and the Internet. It concerns university-age students who plan to stay a night in a large farmhouse in rural Japan, during the winter season. Initially, focus falls on Eri's relationship with her boyfriend Toru. This story possesses elements of the ghost story genre, but it is also a study in human interaction and behaviour. This is a novella.
Eri, the heroine of Connolly’s haunting novella set in contemporary Japan, feels neglected by her boyfriend, Toru, a convenience store employee whose priority always seems to be his job. He disappoints again when he can’t join her on a planned get-together with friends on an unnamed mountain, increasing her fears that he will become enslaved to his work. As Naoko, a friend of Eri’s, has warned, “even the best men, with the very best intentions, would ultimately fall into the arms of his company rather than into the arms of his wife.” Eri sets out on her own to the remote house where her friends are gathering, but soon rues her decision. Her solitary trek up the silent and isolated mountain leaves her feeling vulnerable, at risk of being buried by the snow. Her anxieties increase when she reaches her destination, only to find it empty but for the sound of unintelligible whispers. Connolly does a good job keeping the reader off-balance throughout this enigmatic, ambiguous tale. (BookLife)
Correction: The author's name was misspelled in an earlier version of this review.