Grotesque

Grotesque

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Overview

Grotesque by Rebecca Copeland

Natsuo Kirino made a spectacular fiction debut on these shores with the publication of Edgar Award-nominated Out ("Daring and disturbing . . . Prepared to push the limits of this world . . . Remarkable"-Los Angeles Times). Unanimously lauded for her unique, psychologically complex, darkly compelling vision and voice, she garnered a multitude of enthusiastic fans eager for more.

In her riveting new novel Grotesque, Kirino once again depicts a barely known Japan. This is the story of three Japanese women and the interconnectedness of beauty and cruelty, sex and violence, ugliness and ambition in their lives.

Tokyo prostitutes Yuriko and Kazue have been brutally murdered, their deaths leaving a wake of unanswered questions about who they were, who their murderer is, and how their lives came to this end. As their stories unfurl in an ingeniously layered narrative, coolly mediated by Yuriko's older sister, we are taken back to their time in a prestigious girls' high school-where a strict social hierarchy decided their fates-and follow them through the years as they struggle against rigid societal conventions.

Shedding light on the most hidden precincts of Japanese society today, Grotesque is both a psychological investigation into the female psyche and a classic work of noir fiction. It is a stunning novel, a book that confirms Natsuo Kirino's electrifying gifts.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400044948
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/13/2007
Pages: 480
Product dimensions: 6.62(w) x 9.52(h) x 1.34(d)

About the Author

Natsuo Kirino, born in 1951, quickly established a reputation in her country as one of a rare breed of mystery writers whose work goes well beyond the conventional crime novel. This fact has been demonstrated by her winning not only the Grand Prix for Crime Fiction in Japan for Out in 1998, but one of its major literary awards--the Naoki Prize--for Soft Cheeks (which has not yet been published in English), in 1999. Several of her books have also been turned into feature movies. Out was the first of her novels to appear in English and was nominated for an Edgar Award.TRANSLATOR: Rebecca L. Copeland, professor of Japanese literature at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, was born in Fukuoka, Japan, the daughter of American missionaries. She received her Ph.D. in Japanese Literature from Columbia University in 1986. She has published numerous scholarly studies on and translations of modern Japanese women's writing.

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Grotesque 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're aromantic/asexual and/or don't care to read about romantic or sexual themes, then this book is a decent read. I will say though that the title of this novel is no misnomer, so be wary. This book is violent, lewd and nothing short of grotesque. It also falls short. After completing this book, I couldn't help but feel like something big was missing and at some points while I was reading, I just wanted to stop and never start again.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book since i had opened the cover it is so hipnotic and can completely consume you into the pages. This is by far one of the best novels i have ever read
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a real eye-opener! One thing that really showed while I was reading this book was that--Natsuo Kirino is definitely a gifted and passionate writer, not only in regards to crime/murder stories but in her depiction of the reality and cruelty of the world and that of the human heart and its deformities. Despite the fact that the writing style is different from her other book OUT, wherein in here she tend to pay closer attention to the characters internal struggle instead of the actual happenings in the plotline, I still believe it is a must-read, eventhough many fans of OUT may find the change of pace a bit disconcerting. I believe 'Grotesque' is a truly fitting title. It not only signifies the deformity of kin and appearance but the twistedness of the mind. Kirino-san has presented to us six different sides of the story in a form of very real people...psychologically disturbed and misundersood. These were people who had been brought up in a society that was bound to break each one of them. Their struggle to be accepted has made them monsters to their own selves and to those who were close to them. What I like the most about this book was the fact that all these characters at first, would be thought of as twisted, cruel, even evil in their ways of thinking 'even the main narrator herself', but in reality they are victims of their own self and of what certain circumstances, what certain decisions has made them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was a well written book, yes, but I started getting distracted very quickly. I think it is mainly because I read Out, also by Kirino, and I loved it so much that Grotesque was a tad disappointing. It lacked the initial grip factor. There was also repetition that I felt wasn't necessary. So. I'd still recommend it. But if you've read Out, you may be a bit let down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Two prostitutes are murdered. So far so standard for crime fiction. But fans of Japan's queen of crime, Natsuo Kirino, know better. It turns out that the two women were friends at an elite prep school for girls. What follows is not so much a crime thriller as a psychological dissection of women trapped in chauvinistic, almost feudal, society. The stort is narrated, Rashomon-like, from four different points of view. This device feels a bit clunky at first, but the strength of Kirino's characterisations soon draws you in. She is a smart writer who understands the fragility of such first-person narratives, and she uses the unreliable narrators cannily to suggest that even the distortions in their stories indicate some truths about the greater whole. Among them, these four characters paint a bleak picture of Japan's underbelly. The easy consumerism that drives the booming Japanese economy finds a darker expression in the desperation of a schoolgirl who embroiders her socks with a Ralph Lauren logo in a futile effort to fit in with richer classmates. i Grotesque /i feels not so much like your average thriller as a grim Dostoevsky-esque dive into the demons that haunt Japanese women. Not for the faint-hearted but a thoroughly satisfying read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I saw this book was on the New York Literary Society's Recommended Reading List, I decided to check it out. When the book arrived, I went through it in a couple of days. I'm happy to see there are still good writers out there. There's nothing like a good book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book works on so many levels. There is the mystery of who killed Yuriko and Kazue and then there is all the tension between the women. I think Yuriko is a twisted version of the Goddess Aphrodite, she is blatantly sexual and has a cupid, Kijima to pimp her out as a prostitute. However as as a by-product, they bring together lovers and spread erotic love to other characters in the book. Kazue is Yuriko's double. The literary double is completely different in this modernized version. Yuriko and Kazue are polar opposite but are one in the same and have the same fate, but retains the doubles need to be the other person. Kazue wants to be Yuriko, while Yuriko, basically could care less. This book works on so many different levels. We see the plight of not just Japanese women, but all women, we are more similar then we thought we were. None of the characters in this book are likeable, but I find myself rooting for all of them. It is beatifully written in a conversational prose style, but with the all the characters retaining their particular voice. It is very easy to read and everyone will get something different with this book. A real triumph.