Life at the prestigious Q High School for Girls in Tokyo exists on a precise social axis: a world of insiders and outsiders, of haves and have-nots. Beautiful Yuriko. “Grotesque” is full of schoolgirls in long socks but blanchingly free of cuteness, a combination we might call Uh-Oh Kitty. Natsuo Kirino started. Other writers, such as Miyabe and Natsuo Kirino, provide insight into elements of Japanese society that are so vastly different from Western culture as to seem.

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The author doesn’t like the class system in Japan where people born into the lucky sperm club can get into the good schools and have connections to get the good jobs. I have to say that this is one of the bleakest and most pessimistic novels I’ve ever read. The seller packaged the book well. It was published in English intranslated by Rebecca Copeland.

Onyx reviews — Grotesque — Natsuo Kirino

As a novel, “Grotesque” is fairly poor. Grotesque is not so much a crime novel as a brilliant, subversive character study. View all 9 comments. But at other times her narrative is whinily self-justificatory and deluded.

Grotesque A novel by Natsuo Kirino. Haruki Murakami, despite his captivating flights of fancy, generally depicts Japanese culture as almost indistinguishable from North American. LitFlash The eBooks you want at the lowest prices.

In fact, the novel is full of lies and deception as we untangle the events and the gtotesque of the three women. If some kid came across you in the dark, you can be sure he’d burst into tears. None of the characters are sympathetic or even remotely interesting. The statement is often repeated in personal book review websites, etc.

It is a study in evil. Women have only one reason for turning to prostitution. More By and About This Author. She is repugnantly superficial, combining a cold eye with a malicious turn of phrase. In the end, the narrator is seen treading the streets of Japan, looking for a customer as she delves into the mysterious and dark world of prostitution.


‘It really is a complete fabrication’

Overall, this is a really in depth character study of Sex Workers. I loved how this book took a hold of me and shook me and left me feeling the after-effects. However, I was immediately interested in the main character.

The trial is approaching of the man – Zhang Zhe-zhong an illegal Chinese immigrant – accused of murdering two prostitutes, Ms Hirata’s younger sister Yuriko, and her old school acquaintance, Kazue Sato. Four women who work together packing bento boxes—Japanese lunches—become enmeshed in each other’s lives when one of them murders her abusive husband. And then, a page from the end of the novel, the narrator reminds us of it, and actually quotes it! I have definitely read more graphic scenes but they may still be upsetting depending on the reader.

Every man is a dormant Zhang, a potential manipulative exploiting murderer of the woman in his arms. She criticizes many things about Japanese culture; the role of women, the unfairness of the competitive school system, among others.

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Kirino spends a lot of time dissecting the psyches of these women from multiple angles. Years later, Yuriko and Kazue are dead — both have become prostitutes and both have been brutally murdered.

But consider two things: The narrator of Grotesque is unnamed and forever lives under the shadow of her younger-by-a-year sister Yuriko, who is unimaginably beautiful and the center of all attention.

This is a rare gift and one that Natsuo employs to astounding results in this book. While one of those girls, the most brilliant and driven, gravitates towards terrorism and finds redemption through love, the other three, all of them misfits in their While I had loved “Out”, I was interested but certainly not enthralled by “Grotesque”.

And a noir novel is a very bad place to understand a different country. The ending, with Ms Hirata once again deceiving herself, emphasises the almost endless capacity for self-deception to which the narrators in their different ways attest. The book was published in a different form intranslated four years later, read eight years after that, and I can’t say at all whether the contemporary time has enabled my comprehension or sucked it dry with history too recent to be learned from.

My attention was quite strained by Zhang’s tale of Chinese hardship it seemed the wrong book to educate the reader about how difficult it is for immigrants in Japanbut I immediately forgave Kirino when Yuriko’s older sister admitted herself Zhang’s account was tedious and could be skipped I’d recommend others to skim it as well.


On top of that, there is also the challenge of seeing another culture through a book. The first, Outwas billed as a crime nafsuo and nominated for an Edgar Award, but it’s really about power in relationships. Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino.

What kind of truth are we searching for? And a sense that this pain would turn into pleasure. When Yuriko flirts her way into Q High and is immediately welcomed into inner circles, the narrator’s world crumbles. Until recently, Japanese fiction has been unavailable to Westerners unfamiliar with the language. All these digressions about myself really have nothing to do with the topic at hand,” she admits freely, addressing the reader with a consistently creepy familiarity.

It is, perhaps, in this area that Kirino’s brilliance shines most clearly – in particular in Ms Hirata’s narrative. I am unable to say, therefore, whether Natsuo Kirino is in any way a typical writer or is working within genre norms which might exist for Japanese mystery fiction.

So I had high expectations coming into this book. I read Grotesque before Out. I could almost feel the desire, eagerness, excitement from those lustful men and the irresistible sexual feelings emerging from the girls all at the same time. Suspension of belief is not really possible in this work. There is no fun to be had here — except to hoot at the various hilariously jaw-dropping zingers which these people say to each other – and here are a few favourites!!

The book revolves around a girl of mixed heritage Yuriko who is beautiful to the point of unnatural, like she should not even exist on this earth.