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.
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. (Mar.) Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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March 12, 2007
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