Silence Once Begun

Jesse Ball

Silence Once Begun
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Silence Once Begun

Jesse Ball

An astonishing novel of unjust conviction, lost love and a journalist’s obsession.

Over the course of several months, eight people vanish from their homes in the same Japanese town, a single playing card found on each door. Known as the ‘Narito Disappearances’, the crime has authorities baffled - until a confession is delivered to the police, signed by Oda Sotatsu, a thread salesman. Sotatsu is arrested, jailed, and interrogated - but he refuses to speak. Even as his parents, brother and sister come to visit him, even as his execution looms, and even as a young woman named Jito Joo enters his cell, he maintains his vow of silence. Our narrator, a journalist named Jesse Ball, is grappling with mysteries of his own when he becomes fascinated by the case. Why did Sotatsu confess? Why won’t he speak? Who is Jito Joo? As Ball interviews Sotatsu’s family, friends, and jailers, he uncovers a complex story of heartbreak, deceit, honour and chance.

Wildly inventive and emotionally powerful, Silence Once Begun is a devastating portrayal of a justice system compromised, and evidence that Jesse Ball is a voraciously gifted novelist working at the height of his powers.

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