Hell by Yasutaka Tsutsui

Hell by Yasutaka Tsutsui

If you like science fiction/fantasy stories, you might want to check out Hell by Yasutaka Tsutsui. Published in Japan in 2003, with its English translation making its way to us in 2007, this story tells a dark tale of a group of people living out their own personal versions of hell. In fact, one of the appeals of this novel is its depiction of hell which is vastly different from the one that we are used to.

Hell, as the name suggests, is about the horrible suffering of a few troubled individuals. Of course, in order for them to undergo such torture, mental or otherwise, these folks shouldn't fall into the model citizen category. And they don't. From the cheating lover to the mournful actor, all characters hide dark secrets in their lives. And before you know it, their past comes to haunt them and they end up living through some rather disturbing moments. Perhaps it is part of the shame of having such secrets but folks caught up in this hell can read each other quite well (and thus know their dirty secrets). The story isn't so much about one main event bringing disconnected strangers together. Rather, it is a very in depth look at a group of strangers and what they all have in common.

Yasutaka Tsutsui is famous for writing quite dark novels and so, this particular book should come as no surprise. His writing portfolio includes a number of books, many of which are famous in Japan. However, the one that made news in recent years was Paprika. Of course, many of us are only familiar with the quirky animated movie with the same title but do keep in mind that the movie is also based on his novel.

In most of his novels, the author is known for pushing people's comfort levels. In this way, he also strikes a balance between poking fun at a concept and creeping you out. Hell is no different. In fact, it could be the best introduction to his own style of the dark and dreary.