Return to Hiroshima
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1995, Japan struggles with a severe economic crisis. Fate brings a number of people together in Hiroshima in a confrontation with dramatic consequences. Xavier Douterloigne, the son of a Belgian diplomat, returns to the city, where he spent his youth, to come to terms with the death of his sister. Inspector Takeda finds a deformed baby lying dead at the foot of the Peace Monument, a reminder of Hiroshima's war history. A Yakuza-lord, rumored to be the incarnation of the Japanese demon Rokurobei, mercilessly defends his criminal empire against his daughter Mitsuko, whom he considers insane. And the punk author Reizo, obsessed by the ultra-nationalistic ideals of his literary idol Mishima, recoils at nothing to write the novel that will "overturn Japan's foundations"....
Hiroshima’s indelible war-past simmers in the background of this ultra-noir novel. Clandestine experiments conducted by Japanese Secret Service Unit 731 during WWII become unveiled and leave a sinister stain on the reputation of the imperial family and the Japanese society as a whole.
PRAISE FOR RETURN TO HIROSHIMA:
Van Laerhoven’s Return to Hiroshima might well be the most complex Flemish crime novel ever written.
Fred Braekman, De Morgen, Belgium??
A complex and grisly literary crime story which among other things refers to the effects of the? nuclear attack on Japan.?
Linda Asselbergs, Weekend, Belgium??
Van Laerhoven skillfully creates the right atmosphere for this drama. As a consequence the whole book is shrouded in a haze of doom. Is this due to Hiroshima itself, a place burdened with a terrible past? Or is the air of desperation typical for our modern society??
Jan Haeverans, Focus Magazine, Belgium??
Van Laerhoven won the Hercule Poirot Prize with Baudelaire’s Revenge. You’ll understand why after reading Return to Hiroshima.?
Eva Krap, Banger Sisters