Comrade girl, shoot the enemy or 『同志少女よ、敵を撃て』 by Aisaka Touma is a new historical war novel that has been taking Japan by storm. The action’s tension, intensity, and skillful composition are not just for show. It has gotten the praise of many critics and was nominated for many literary awards.
In 1942, as the war between Germany and the Soviet Union raged, the daily life of Serafima, a young girl living in a farming village near Moscow, was suddenly taken away from her. Her mother, Ekaterina, and other villagers were slaughtered by German troops who swooped down on them. Serafima was about to be shot herself when she was saved by Irina, a female soldier in the Red Army. Later, she asked her if she wants to fight or die on the spot, so she decided to become a first-class sniper at the training school where Irina served as an instructor. While embracing the feelings of revenge on the German sniper who shot her mother, and Irina who burned her mother’s body, Serafima trains with other female snipers who have also mourned their families and chosen to fight, and eventually finds herself on the front lines in Stalingrad, a decisive turning point in the war between Germany and the Soviet Union. After many deaths, she discovers the “Real Enemy“.
“Comrade Girl, Shoot the Enemy” won the Grand Prize at the “2022 Honya Taisho” announced on April 6. Since its release in November last year, it had also been nominated for the 166th Naoki Prize and attracted a great deal of attention. It won the 11th Agatha Christie Award, the first novel ever to receive a perfect score of 5 points from all the selection committee members! It also attracted further attention following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
When book reviewer Hiroko Oya heard the news of the invasion of Ukraine, she was reminded of Olga, a sniper girl from Ukraine who appears in the story. Olga says, “Ukraine is a country where the Soviets are trying to make a stand. Do you know how Ukraine has been treated by Soviet Russia? What is Ukraine to the Soviets? It’s farmland to be plundered.” In Ukraine, everyone welcomed the Germans at first, saying that this would liberate Ukraine from the Soviet Union. Olga, however, fights as one of the Soviet soldiers. Knowing what happened to her and learning from it is the power of literature set in “a place that is not here, and an era that is not now”
Hideo Kojima, the renowned game creator, says: I want as many people as possible to read this book, for surely they would witness a masterpiece.
Paperback and Digital versions: Here
- Solo Dance by Li Kotomi: The New Voice of Japan and How to write an LGBT Novel - May 25, 2022
- Comrade girl, shoot the enemy is a New Important War Novel Recommended by Game Creator Hideo Kojima - May 14, 2022
- KADOKAWA distributes free manga version of “The Unwomanly Face of War” and other war-related books Until May 16 - May 14, 2022