Book Review: Black Fairy Tale by Otsuichi, Nathan Collins

Black Fairy Tale is a novel written by Otsuichi, and translated to English by Nathan Collins. A raven who has learned to speak from watching movies befriends a young girl whose eyes were ruined in a freak accident. He brings her eyeballs he steals from other people, and when she puts them in her eye sockets, she sees memories from their original owners. Desperate to make the girl happy, the raven brings her more and more eyeballs. This is also the story of a young girl, Nami, who has lost her memories and cannot seem to live up to the expectations of those around her. The stories intertwine in a haunting, dreamy, horrific narrative evoking the raw and universal need for love.

Black Fairy Tale is a well written tale that is more than a little disturbing. It starts off with what seems like a short story, but quickly we land in a full length novel that brings everything together. the largest part of the story is about Nami- who loses her memory with her eye. She is on the search for her old self, her new self, and a understanding of both. when an eye transplant adds a new set of memories to her list of problems she discovers a new world to become part of.  She embarks on a mystery to discover the life and death of the eye donor, and looks to solve the mystery of a kidnapped girl. Family dynamics, personality, and memory are all huge parts of the story. Readers get a look into the mind of the kidnapper, who has a strange power over life and death that they experiment with. the book is definitely dark, and speaks to the nature of memory and the human heart. I enjoyed the gothic, mental suspense style of the horror. There were some gruesome moments, but is more the imagined horror that will stick with readers. My biggest issue with the book is my personal hangup- eyes. Horror movies and moments that include injuries to eyes freak me out every single time. I can still see that scene in Village of the Damned.... *shutter*

Black Fairy Tale is a creepy story with a few twists and turns. Fans of Japanese horror will love this read, but those that are easily scared or squeamish might want to take a pass.
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