By Yasutaka Tsutsui
Alma Books £16.99, 208 pages
FT bookshop price: £13.59
The hell in Japanese writer Yasutaka Tsutsui’s surrealist novella is not the conventional fire and brimstone version. In fact this hell is not very dissimilar to the world that the inhabitants have just left.
Devoid of the passions and desires that drove them on in their previous existences, they are able to see events in both the future and the past.
The characters include a yakuza killed by a rival gang member, a novelist who is cheating on his wife, a homeless vagrant, a salaryman and his crippled boss.
The characters’ different stories overlap but, like the inert new world in which they find themselves, they don’t ever really go anywhere in a vision of hell that paints a bleak picture of humanity.