The Incident in the Courtyard

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The Incident in the Courtyard
Author: Riku Onda
Specifications: ISBN  978-4101234199
522 pages
10.6 x 15.0 cm / 4.2 x 6.0 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Shinchosha Publishing Co., Ltd.
Tokyo, 2006
Awards: Yamamoto Shugoro Prize, 2007
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This ambitious entertainment novel with a highly complex structure?it has not just one, but two, plays nested within it?makes frequent reference to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream as it probes the nature of love and the borderline between performance and reality. At a party held in the courtyard of an elegant boutique hotel, the hot young playwright Kamiya dies after drinking poisoned tea. He had been slated to reveal who would star in his new one-woman play/monologue, Confession. The three candidates for the role are all in attendance, and in questioning them as suspects, the police ask them to perform the monologue. This turns out to be the plot of a play called Nakaniwa no dekigoto (The Incident in the Courtyard) being written by a playwright in the framing story. While still unable to come up with a satisfactory ending for the play, the playwright travels with a friend to an old country depot on an abandoned rail line that has been converted into a stage. The story thus moves forward on three separate levels?the playwright and his friend's trip, the play he is trying to complete, and the play/monologue within that play?as the mystery of the death in the play is unraveled, keeping the reader guessing about what is "real" (in the story's frame of reference) and what is fabricated.