Jun Ikeido is one of my favourite Japanese authors of genre fiction, and I loved 『シャイロックの子供たち』. If you have never read Jun Ikeido, I would say that this book can serve as a good introduction as it contains all the topics usually found in Ikeido’s novels, but it is much shorter than many of his other books.
Each chapter is narrated by a different employee of the bank, and it seems at first that each people’s story will be independent. I personally enjoy this kind of ensemble cast narration, and it is easy to feel involved in each employee’s story. I was really surprised to see that a main thread emerges after some time and the story follows it through different characters.
The main topics also evolve. The story starts with typical problems that bank employees are facing like dealing with hierarchy and internal competition, difficult relations with companies who don’t trust the bank, etc. But the novel turns into a real mystery in the second half.
If I had to rank the novels I have read so far, this one will be in the lower half, but it was still an engrossing read. I particularly love how Jun Ikeido shows the motives and reasons that dictate every characters’ actions. Things that might seem despicable from the outside are often motivated by someone’s background, generation, or the huge pressure that falls onto most of the characters of the novel.