“Fish Swimming in Dappled Sunlight”: Riku Onda’s multi-layered novel deftly juggles genres

Riku Onda’s “Fish Swimming in Dappled Sunlight” begins as a murder mystery: Aki and Hiro’s mountain trek is suddenly cut short when their guide mysteriously falls to his death and the couple’s relationship is irrevocably changed. A year later, suspecting the other of the murder of the guide, the two men agree to spend one last night together in their apartment which will soon be vacated before separating forever.

Over the course of the novel, Onda plays with the ideas of attraction, truth, and memory like building blocks: one piece upon another in a carefully constructed tower. Chapters pile up in increasingly precarious constructs that defy expectation as the author navigates the genres.

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Irene B. Bowles