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Fiction Serenade of Souls: The Tokyo Trilogy, Part III

The third part of the The Tokyo Trilogy by Jakob Halskov

Editor review

Enjoyable conclusion to Tokyo Trilogy
Pros
  • Enjoyable read
  • Authentic, uncliched descriptions of Japan
Cons
  • A bit short and lacking in complexity
Serenade of Souls, the final part of Jakob Halskov's Trilogy, is set five years after the previous part, No Medicine for Falling in Love.

Shoko, newly crowned as leader of the Hashimoto clan at the end of the previous book, has modernised her organisation into a semi-respectable concern fronting loan companies and pachinko businesses. This has created enemies among her henchmen, who are hankering for the 'good old days' of strip bars and violence, and plans are afoot to topple her.

Linda, who reluctantly returned to Denmark after falling in love with Tanaka during her previous trip to Tokyo, has allowed five years to pass and bitterly regrets having let their relationship wither away. She decides to return to Tokyo to try to rekindle the relationship.

Ryo is also feeling regrets, never having got over losing the beautiful and seductive Ai, now a widow and the mother of a small child, who left him after his brief fling with a woman he met at a party. A text message from Ai suggests that he is in with a second chance.

As with No Medicine for Falling in Love, this is a feelgood book based on the ideas that the course of true love never lies smooth and that it's never too late to overcome your previous mistakes. The author has a keen eye for detail, and some of the descriptions of the scenes, such as the slightly claustrophobic fog-shrouded hotel in Atami, are very strong. There are also hints of a love-based cosmology that temporarily takes the reader out of 21st century Japan. The pace can be a little slow at times – the characters are not quite complex enough to provide the reader with genuine interest in whether their love will win the day – but the yakuza plot and some welcome scenes with the insatiable Tomoko and some of the previous characters inject some energy into the book.
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