Book review: 『シャイロックの子供たち』by Jun Ikeido

Cover of シャイロックの子供たち.
Title: シャイロックの子供たち (しゃいろっくのこどもたち
First published: 2006
Page Count: 347
The local branch of a mega bank is the scene of many ups and downs as employees struggle to meet the quotas while some of them would do anything to get a promotion. But a theft will soon bring chaos to the place.

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.

銀行という職場では上司に逆らったら負けだ。

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.

部下の悪口イコール自らの保身

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.

Other books by this author:
アキラとあきら
空飛ぶタイヤ (そらとぶたいや)
七つの会議 (ななつのかいぎ)
Cover of “Ore tachi babulu nyukogumi”. The cover is a drawing of a salaryman seen from behind. He is holding his jacket over his shoulder and his looking at a building across the street.1