How far would you go for animal rights? In the book ‘In the Name of the Dog’, Takeshi Koizumi is prepared to go all the way. When his best childhood friend is destroyed in a dog pound, his whole life becomes a quest for justice and revenge. Along the way, he exposes the inhumane conditions of animal shelters (I use the term ‘shelter’ loosely) in Japan, as well as the cruelty and hypocrisy regarding animal rights in one of the richest countries in the world.
This may sound like a compelling thriller, but it is also a true story. Koizumi is still languishing in a Japanese prison and facing the death sentence as we speak. If the story sounds vaguely familiar to you, it may be that you read about the crimes he committed back in 2008 in Japan, or because I’ve mentioned this book before on my blog. I had read it in the original Romanian. Some of you expressed interest in the story but were not quite prepared to learn Romanian to read the book! I am happy to report that the author, Claudia Sumiya, has not been idle and has translated and published the book in English. It is now available on Amazon (see the links below). Full disclosure: Claudia is a friend and former classmate of mine, and she is also a successful writer with many published books to her name, most of them set in Japan, which she has now made her home.
The English edition is more complete and well-rounded. It offers a contrast between the unhappy, obsessive life of Koizumi and the author’s own happy life with her pets. Told in the form of a series of letters between the author and the incarcerated man, it is also the story of an awakening to the darker, crueller side of human society and a gradual commitment to veganism and animal activism. An added twist: this links well with the eco-warriors narrative thread in the latest series of ‘The Bridge’. A book which could spark an interesting debate.