Atmospheric and literally quite breathtaking, Alex Austin’s “Nakamura Reality” is an exercise in beauty. There are lessons to be learned in this novel about Japanese culture, and its vast difference to American culture. However, despite the many cultural differences presented quite efficiently by the author, there is still that underlying connection between humanity that intrinsically links us all to one another.
In “Nakamura Reality”, loss and tragedy quickly strike in the life of Hugh McPherson. His twin sons vanish into the ocean. Fervent surfers, the boys succumb to the immense powers of the sea and meet their demise. Hugh and his wife, Setsuko, cannot weather life together with the loss of their sons. Soon divorcing, the Setsuko chooses to leave her american life behind her and moves back to Japan with her writer-father, Kazuki Ono.
Hugh, on the other hand, decides to continue his life in america with the sadness of his sons’ deaths never leaving him. As he grows more and more depressed, not only for the loss of his sons’ but also of the end of his relationship with his wife, Hugh decides to commit suicide by voluntarily giving himself to the waters that so maniacally took his sons’ lives. Whilst committing this act, Hugh sees his sons, who ask him to reconcile with Setsuko.
Now this is where the story gets super interesting. Hugh, who finds himself revitalized by this near-death experience, quickly comes to believe that perhaps the death of his sons’ wasn’t so clear cut. Sure, they had indeed vanished into the ocean, never having their bodies found – but they were also such AMAZING surfers. Could it be there’s more to their disappearance then what seemingly transpired? Is Setsuko’s father, who recently wrote a novel that seems to echo Hugh and Setsuko’s real life, behind this awful tragedy?
With this new idea, Hugh begins a new life where he begins to question the life as he had known it in the 10 years that have passed since the disappearance of his sons. The author shines in his portrayal of the mysteries and tumult that surround all the characters has created. His ability to easily sustain the readers’ interest page in and page out demonstrates the talent of an author that clearly knows the power that words can bring.