Vintage Books USA, Paperback, 9781400096596, 530pp.
Publication Date: February 12, 2008
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 and her unpopular, unnamed sister exist in different spheres; the hopelessly awkward Kazue Sato floats around among them, trying to fit in.Years later, Yuriko and Kazue are dead — both have become prostitutes and both have been brutally murdered.
Natsuo Kirino, celebrated author of Out, seamlessly weaves together the stories of these women’s struggles within the conventions and restrictions of Japanese society. At once a psychological investigation of the pressures facing Japanese women and a classic work of noir fiction, Grotesque is a brilliantly twisted novel of ambition, desire, beauty, cruelty, and identity by one of our most electrifying writers.
“Vengefully mesmerizing. . . . Kirino turns an unerring eye toward the vicious razors of the adolescent female mind.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Kirino helps us aficionados of crime fiction imagine the kind of novels James M. Cain might have written if he had been a Japanese feminist. . . . Emotionally harrowing.”
—Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air (NPR)
“A layered exploration of the human psyche, of the conflict inherent in need and desire, shame and humiliation. . . . A powerful study of people humbled at the altar of superficial values.”
—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Kirino provides an energized thrill ride as she also examines the sometimes-stifling stranglehold of Japan’s social hierarchy, especially for women.” —Seattle Post-Intelligencer