Friday, February 22, 2008

Everything I Consume: Grotesque

Natsuo Kirino's Out was the best book I read in 2006. I've recommended it to everybody and if I haven't told you to read it you're probably not my friend or uncomfortable with extreme violence and vivid sexuality. So I had high hopes for Grotesque (and kudos to The Wife for buying me a book she knew she wouldn't want to read or even hear about) and I was not disappointed.

The story goes back and forth in time and perspective between a nameless narrator, two murder victims (the narrator's sister and a friend from high school, both prostitutes) and the confessed killer of one of them. The less you know the better but it's a gripping read, filled with bizarre characters, twists, weird sexual relationships and a look inside Japanese society. It strains belief that all the characters seem to have left secret journals but if that bothers you just let go.

It's always been a struggle to find Japanese mystery writing, even the best writers are rarely translated. Luckily some more of Kirino's books are being translated and we should get one a year from her for the next three years.

If anyone reads this I'd love to discuss the ending and what you thought of it. It's just out in paperback which is good news for you and bad news for me trying to sell a used hardcover.

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