Synopses & Reviews
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 Kirinos electrifying gifts.
"Readers with a taste for ambiguity and oddball characters will enjoy this twisted novel of suspense from Japanese author Kirino (Out). The Apartment Serial Murders case, which involved the brutal killings of two Tokyo prostitutes, has gripped the country, leading to the arrest of a Chinese immigrant, Zhang Zhe-zhong, for the crimes. Strangely, Zhang freely admits to murdering the first victim, Yuriko Hirata, but denies the near-identical slaying 10 months later of Kazue Sato. The events leading to the killings are related from a variety of perspectives that of Yuriko's unnamed older sister, bitterly jealous of her sibling's good looks; of each victim; and of the accused. Unusual connections for example, Kazue was a classmate of the older sister cast doubt on the veracity of individual narrators. This mesmerizing tale of betrayal reveals some sobering truths about Japan's social hierarchy. 4-city author tour. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The overall effect, while both ambitious and, yes, grotesque, is ultimately less satisfying than the author's previous work." Library Journals
"[A] vengefully mesmerizing obituary written in the voice of a woman who is often a total stranger to the women she envies....Kirino presents our narrator as an example so terrific as to merit an award for the discovery of a completely new species." San Francisco Chronicle
"Grotesque is the kind of edgy and brooding breakout book that is likely to win Ms. Kirino the recognition and loyal following overseas that she has long enjoyed at home." Wall Street Journal
"Grotesque succeeds as a layered exploration of the human psyche, of the conflict inherent in need and desire, shame and humiliation." Philadelphia Inquirer
In the wake of the brutal murders of two Tokyo prostitutes, Yuriko and Kazue, Yuriko's older sister describes the three women's youth and education at a prestigious girls' high school, where a strict social hierarchy and rigid societal conventions determine the courses of their lives. 60,000 first printing.
About the Author
Natsuo Kirino, born in 1951, is the author of sixteen novels, four short-story collections, and an essay collection. She is the recipient of six of Japan's premier literary awards, including the Mystery Writers of Japan Award for Out, the Izumi Kyoka Prize for Literature for Grotesque, and the Naoki Prize for Soft Cheeks. Her work has been published in nineteen languages worldwide; several of her books have also been turned into movies. Out was the first of her novels to appear in English and was nominated for an Edgar Award. She lives in Tokyo.