Sept-Oct '03: Battle Royale - Koushun Takami
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by Koushun Takami
Publisher: Viz Communications (February 2003)
about 600+ pages.
Sorry about the delay, I had such a hard time deciding between your recommendations...
Koushun Takami's notorious high-octane thriller is based on an irresistible premise: a class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill one another until only one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan--where it then proceeded to become a runawy bestseller--Battle Royale is a Lord of the Flies for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dogmeat-dog world. Made into a controversial hit movie of the same name, Battle Royale is already a contemporary Japanese pulp classic, now available for the first time in the English language.