Back Seat Book Club – Book Five: Battle Royale
Author: Koushun Takami, Trans. Yuji Oniki
Published: April 1999
Plot Summary – A class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill one another until only one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan – where it then proceeded to become a runaway bestseller – Battle Royale is a Lord of the Flies for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world.
Quick Thoughts [forthcoming]
“Kazuhiko could have taken his gun and aimed it at the person behind them. But Sakura wouldn’t want that. What she wanted was to leave this world quietly before they got sucked into this horrible massacre. Nothing was more important to him than her. There was no room for compromise. If this were what her trembling soul wanted, then he would follow her. Had he been more eloquent he might have described his feelings as something like, “I’m going to die for her honor.”
Their two bodies danced in the air beyond the cliff, their hands still clasped together, the black sea under them.”
This episode was recorded: 01/03/13