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The hunting gun

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The premise of this novel is a very old one: a man and a woman, each of them married to other people, have an ongoing long affair. However, Yasushi Inoue, a prolific writer of over fifty novels, numerous short stories, poetry and travel writing, has created something different in this very short, enigmatic and bittersweet novel.

The form of the novel is unique--with three letters set within the frame of another letter which is sent to a writer who has published a poem depicting a hunter trudging along with a powerful double-barreled shotgun.  The letter writer, Misugi Josuke, thinks the author knows him and his desperate emotional situation. He encloses three letters which are to be read and then destroyed.

Three letters all reveal secrets kept from the man. One letter is from the lover’s daughter and is based on her dead mother’s diary. Another letter is from the man's wife who has known for many years that her husband was having an affair, but never revealed her knowledge. The last letter is from the man's lover who opens her heart and mind to him in very unexpected ways. 

In this novel, Yasushi Inoue is the master of portraying human emotions and thoughts based on egotism, jealousy and destiny as they are challenged by sin, death and love.