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Ring Hardcover – May 1, 2003
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
The success of the 2002 American movie The Ring, a remake of Hideo Nakata's Ringu, has excited interest both in the original film and in the novel on which it's based. The plot will be familiar to the movie's many fans: a reporter, Asakawa, connects the death of his niece to the deaths of three other high school students. During his investigation, he discovers a videotape with a terrible warning: "Those who view these images are fated to die at this exact moment one week from now." With the aid of a friend, Asakawa traces the video to an alleged psychic and her daughter, Sadako. As in a classic ghost story, fate singles out one, often innocent character as a scapegoat. But the misogynistic society that persecutes Sadako and her mother must ultimately bear witness to its sin-or perish. Despite a somewhat pedestrian and unintentionally comic prose style that seems derived from manga comics ("Ryuji was right. Men could not bear children"), fans of the movie won't be disappointed. Anyone curious in how the Japanese see themselves will find this book a fascinating, and ultimately highly disturbing, experience.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The recent horror/suspense film called The Ring was a remake of the Japanese film Ringu, which was in turn based on a 1991 novel that is now appearing in English for the first time. The novel, which tells the story of a journalist investigating the apparently simultaneous deaths of four teenagers, begins as a traditional mystery. But it glides smoothly into horror when the journalist discovers that all four victims watched a videotape that guaranteed their deaths in one week if they did not do a certain thing (details are missing from the tape). If the journalist can't figure out what happened, he, too, the tape prophesizes, is doomed. Told with a minimum of horror cliches, the novel creates a sense of slowly mounting dread, as though something unpleasant is inevitable, and we are powerless to stop it. With the release of The Ring (and its Japanese inspiration) on video (and talk of a sequel to the American film), this novel is sure to be much in demand among both mystery and horror fans. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Believe it or not it has taken me this long to finally read the book! now that I write it down here it is pretty darn ridiculous that it took me this long!
Either way, my first impressions after reading the book this first time, is how much different the story is when compared to both Ringu and the american Ring movie.
The essence of the story is still much the same, cursed video tape, eerie black haired girl so on and so forth. But i would say that the movie changed darn near 75% of the book.
I really enjoyed the story, and just ordered the second book spirals today, Suzuki is a good writer, and the tale is spun in a way that you get all the information you need, not to fast not to slow.
I Highly recommend that if you are reading this review you should read the book.
And then there was the utter confusion of genre. It's a sort of conglomeration of horror, thriller, literary fiction and drama, and can never seem to decide which one it wants to be. The literary aspects were, for me, the weakest and the most badly handled. The attempts at exploring morals were artificial and never fully fleshed out. Ryuji's character suddenly being absolved at the end was just ridiculous to me, and the "did he/didn't he" question was brought in too late for me to give a damn.
Then there's the story itself, which borders on the ridiculous. This mix of medical horror meets ghost story became to feel like the author was trying too hard to make it shocking. Finally, it wasn't scary at any point and that really disappointed me. The build-up of tension was poor, and the constant head-hopping and interior monologue killed any chance of any being developed. Overall, I didn't hate the book and I enjoyed it in parts, but I certainly couldn't say it was a good, or effective book on any level.
So you've seen The Ring. Or, better yet, the Japanese film Ringu. Or both. (You should watch both. See Ringu first.) Or you haven't. It doesn't matter. You must read Ring.
The story is relatively similar, but both Nakata and Verbinski took very large liberties with the original text (for example, both made Asakawa's character female-- which allowed the world to get weak-kneed at seeing Nanako Matsushima and Naomi Watts gracing screens again, but was otherwise seemingly gratuitous), including some major messing with the backstory. So if you've seen the films, the book will be familiar, but will still end up being a whole new experience.
Asakawa is a reporter. He was disgraced a couple of years ago during a sudden, unexplained outburst of popularity of stories about the occult in Japan (though you don't find out exactly how early on). One night, on the way home, he catches a cab, and he and the driver strike up a conversation about an event that happened a month previously to the cabdriver: a kid on a motorbike died of sudden heart failure. The death is eerily similar to that of Asakawa's niece on the same night. And from that coincidence, Asakawa starts to research the connection between the two deaths, which turns out to be far more than he bargained for.
What made for a creepily effective thriller on screen actually reads more like a hardboiled detective thriller (those familiar with the premise will note the obvious similarity to certain crime films of the past, notably D. O. A.). Suzuki keeps the horrors even farther offscreen than did Nakata (and the difference in the "revelation" at the end will surely startle those who are expecting the same kind of special-effects extravaganza Nakata used as a payoff), focusing on the mystery and the bond between Asakawa and his best friend, Ryuji, who gets involved in the investigation with him.
The book's flaws are minor, and conducive to mystery writing. Asakawa's edtor is a dead ringer for Tony Vincenzo (the editor in "Kolchak: The Night Stalker"), and a few of the other minor characters are about as shallow. Still, there are less obvious "kill me" characters running around, and the minor characters aren't really given enough screen time to make it an issue.
Compelling, well-written, expertly translated, and full of twists, even for those who have seen the movie. Highly recommended, and a shoo-in for this year's ten-best list. **** ½