Ring – the novel

Th RingRing by Koji Suzuki
Translated by Robert B. Rohmer and Glynne Wally
(Originally published in Japan as Ringu in 1991.)

My motivation for reading this book was seeing the film Ring (released in 1998) directed by Hideo Nakata.

Notes from the book dust-jacket: Kazuyaki Asakawa is a dedicated journalist who has worked his way up from local newsbeat reporter to writer for his newspaper’s weekly magazine. A chronic workaholic, he doesn’t take much notice when his 17 year old niece Tomoko Oishi dies suddenly — until a chance conversation reveals that another healthy teenager died at exactly the same time, in chillingly similar circumstances.

Sensing a story, Asakawa begins to investigate, and soon discovers that another two teenagers also died simultaneously and unexpectedly. Exactly one week before their mysterious deaths the four teenagers all spent the night at a leisure resort in the same log cabin.

When Asakawa vists the resort, the mystery only deepends. A commend made in the guest book by one of the teenagers leads him to a particular videotape. When he watches it, instead of a movie he finds an odd collection of disparate images with a portentous message at the end: ‘Those who have viewed these images are fated to die at this exact hour one week from now.”

Asakawa finds himself in a race against time – he has only seven days to find the cause of the teenagers’ deaths before it finds him. The hunt puts him on the trail of the apocalyptic power that will force Asakawa to choose between saving his family and saving civilisation.

In this story we learn about Sadako Yamamura, from Oshima island, who had demonstrated her pyschic abilities at the age of ten.

Asakawa involes his friend Ryuji in the search for the riddle of the videotape. We meet Ryuji’s student and lover Mai Takano who appears again in the next book, Spiral.

The book concludes with the discovery of Sadaka who is not entirely dead…

The books are well described in a Wikipedia article and this article about Sadako Yamamura . The RingWorld web site is a superb fan site with a lot of information about the books and films.

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