“The Deamon of the Lonely Island,” a full-length novel written as a series from 1929 to 1930, contains all the themes unique to Ranpo Edogawa: the atmosphere is a combination of a detective novel, an adventure novel, the world of circuses and shows, erotism and grotesquerie.
Because of a terrifying experience in his past, Kinnosuke Minoura has white hair despite being under 30.
On top of that, his wife’s body supports mysterious scars. Minoura tells the readers the story of how these things came to be. It starts with the strange death of Minoura’s fiancée, and continues onto the death of his friend. Investigation leads him and the scientist Moroto to a lonely island that hides frightful crimes...
Of the many novels written by Ranpo Edogawa, “The Deamon of the Lonely Island” left the strongest impression on me. One day, as I was talking about this with Frédéric Brument from Wombat, he suggested the idea of publishing the French version. Translating the Japanese master of detective novels: it was something I had never imagined, and definitely not this soon. Furthermore, I was hesitant because the novel is of significant length, but putting that aside, we decided that I would try translating the first two chapters. The first stage was very difficult, as I worried that I would not be able to translate into French the uniqueness of Ranpo Edogawa, the writing style of that time, and the mysterious impression that the writing of Ranpo transmits. I thought of giving up many times; just then, there was an opportunity to interpret for the manga artist Suehiro Maruo, who had been invited to France just around that time. Suehiro Maruo is famous for having made into manga the works of Ranpo Edogawa, and I have been translating his works for almost 10 years. When I told him about this project of “The Demon of the Lonely Island” and confided what I was concerned about, he encouraged me to “please do ‘Demon of the Lonely Island’!” It was no more than a normal, roadside conversation in Paris at night, but at that moment I decided that I would go through with it till the end. While I was translating, in order to be immersed in worlds similar to Ranpo Edogawa, I read the French translation of Conan Doyle, and the mystery stories of Guy de Maupassant. What I noticed from reading “Demon of the Lonely Island” many times over, and from starting the full-scale translation, was that the writing of Ranpo has a very clear objective, and it is easy to see where the writer wants to take the readers, or why he choses the particular phrasing. Thanks to this, I was able to continue the work smoothly, without worrying extensively about how to translate. Aside from this, my father, who is a writer, gave me valuable advice and supported me during the translation.