【Summary & Review】恩田 陸 – 蜜蜂と遠雷 / Riku Onda – Honey Bee and Distant Thunder

Riku Onda’s Honeybees and Distant Thunder is a novel that revolves around the Yoshigae International Piano Competition, a fictional contest set in a rural seaside town. The story is strongly character-driven and follows four rivals who unite through interwoven narratives, which bind them through tragedy, romance and friendship. The professional piano player circuit is known to be cutthroat, with few ever “making it,” even those who are both talented and dedicated. Despite this, the four rivals unite through interwoven narratives, which bind them through tragedy, romance and friendship. Their varying backgrounds and approaches to music are the result of Onda toying with the idea of genius and how it measures up against hard work and valuable social connections. By bringing these diverse members together and pitting them against each other in a potentially make-or-break event, she manages to compose a harmony between these surprisingly complementary characters.

The book was a smash hit when it first came out in 2017, snapping up both the Naoki Prize and Japan Booksellers’ Award the same year¹. Its popularity sparked the production of the 2019 film Listen to the Universe, which was well received by domestic audiences.

Onda’s passion for music is undeniable throughout Honeybees and Distant Thunder. Expect a wave of visceral reactions as you read — especially if you are a creative yourself — as the vivid depictions of human emotions and the musical pieces that move them work their magic. Note that the narrative style may not resonate well with all readers as it relies heavily on repetition at times.

As for a favorable review, I found this quote from AP News: “Riku Onda’s “Honeybees and Distant Thunder” is a meandering ode to music, to the artists who create it and the nature that inspires it. The novel pops between a slew of characters as they witness breathtaking performances and nervously wait for results at the end of each round, from a preliminary trial in Paris to the finals in Japan.

Riku Ondaの「蜜蜂と遠雷」は、架空のコンテストである「吉ヶ江国際ピアノコンクール」を中心に展開する小説です。物語は、悲劇、ロマンス、友情を通じて結ばれた4人のライバルを追いかけます。プロのピアノプレーヤーサーキットは、才能と献身的な人々でも「成功する」人がほとんどいないことで知られています。それでも、Ondaは天才の考え方とそれが努力や貴重な社会的つながりにどのように対応するかを考えて、多様なメンバーを一緒に連れてきて、潜在的に命運を決するイベントで彼らを互いに対立させました。これらの驚くべき補完的なキャラクター間で調和を作曲することに成功しました。

この本は2017年に初めて出版され、同年に直木賞と日本書籍協会賞を受賞しました。その人気は2019年の映画「Listen to the Universe」の製作を引き起こし、国内観客から好評を博しました。


好意的なレビューについては、AP Newsから次の引用を見つけました。「Riku Ondaの『蜜蜂と遠雷』は、音楽、それを創造するアーティスト、そしてそれをインスパイアする自然への迂回的なオードです。小説は、パリの予備審査から日本の決勝戦まで、ラウンドの終わりに息をのむようなパフォーマンスを目撃し、緊張して結果を待つ多数のキャラクターを行き来します」


メールアドレスが公開されることはありません。 が付いている欄は必須項目です