p. 422: "I'm not jealous because you made some money. It's because if those men are willing to pay that kind of money to you, Kazue, they must be the type who like monsters. I mean, you're ugly too. If some kid came across you in the dark, you can be sure he'd burst into tears. And you don't have much of a future. You're just going to keep falling lower and lower. You're going to have to quit your job at the firm before long because no one's going to be able to bear looking at you." Yuriko's eyes glittered. I may have been a rock-bottom whore but the thought of slipping even lower frightened me. According to Yuriko's prophecy, at some point a monster-loving man would appear and kill me. I wonder if I'd be killed by Zhang. I remembered the humiliation I'd felt when he tossed me aside after sex. He hated me. He hated sex. But he liked monsters.
p. 467: Women have only one reason for turning to prostitution. It's hatred for others, for the rest of the world. Not doubt this is incredibly sad, but then men have the capacity for countering such feelings in a woman. Still, if sex is the only way to dissolve these feelings, then men and women really are pathetic.
Utter brilliance. An angry social commentary on the elitism and misogyny embedded in Japanese society. Grotesque is categorized as a crime novel but I think it's written in too unconventional of a way to be considered that. I have to say that this is one of the bleakest and most pessimistic novels I've ever read. It's a great story to read over Christmas. :)
The ending was weak in comparison to the rest of the novel due to the decision by the American publisher to censor a part of the novel that involves underage male prostitution - a rather gross display of double standards, I have to say. (view spoiler)[Because this part has been omitted, the actions of the narrator (Yuriko's older sister) at the end do not make much sense. (hide spoiler)] ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I won this book on Goodreads' First Reads giveaway. Thanks Goodreads!
Keigo Higashino won the Japanese equivalent of the National Book Award and the Ma...moreI won this book on Goodreads' First Reads giveaway. Thanks Goodreads!
Keigo Higashino won the Japanese equivalent of the National Book Award and the Man Booker Prize for this book, which is essentially a psychological crime thriller. The premise of the book is at first deceptively simple. A single mother kills her scumbag ex-husband in what is mostly self-defense. After the murder, as the mother and her teenage daughter stand there stunned, not knowing what to do next, the next door neighbor (a brilliant mathematician who happens to have a crush on the single mother) offers to help in the cover-up. There is a secondary storyline of the two police detectives (plus a physics professor who occasionally helps out in police investigations) who are investigating the murder.
This was a very very fast read for me; the book went down smooth like milk. I only have a few minor complaints, namely that the characters don't feel as fully fleshed out as they should have been. There could have easily been at least a hundred more pages for character development. But still, I give it four stars for entertaining me from the first to the last page. (less)
Some points: - Fun and brisk read with a slow build-up and an explosion of gore and uh, other bodily secretions at the end. - Ryu Murakami seems utterly...moreSome points: - Fun and brisk read with a slow build-up and an explosion of gore and uh, other bodily secretions at the end. - Ryu Murakami seems utterly convinced of the moral degeneracy of modern Japanese society. Because he knows the books he wrote probably contributed to this. - Kind of misogynistic (maybe a Japanese kind of misogyny?) but with some interesting social commentary. - (view spoiler)[ The doggy. :( (hide spoiler)] - The ending was too abrupt for my liking. - (view spoiler)[If you become obsessed with some mysterious hot babe, listen to your friends who tell you to be careful, cuz that hot babe is a little creepy. Otherwise you might end up with your feet sawed off. (hide spoiler)] - I'd love to read more of the author's works but it appears that people keep stealing his books from my university library, those bastards. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The 20-year-old narrator Kenji, who shows foreign male sex tourists around Tokyo, has a seriously superhuman sense of self-preservation. I really enjo...moreThe 20-year-old narrator Kenji, who shows foreign male sex tourists around Tokyo, has a seriously superhuman sense of self-preservation. I really enjoyed this book. The title completely sold me, for one thing, and then there's a blurb on the back cover from one of the former members of Cibo Matto! Oh, the late 90s. Anyway, though there was a lot of sex, gore, and violence (and this is the selling point of the novel, judging from the cover), but these sexploitative things are actually secondary to the social commentary on the loneliness of people in these highly developed countries - Japanese society, American society, on how the Japanese view foreigners and vice-versa. Seriously compelling stuff. I took off a star because I found the ending generally unsatisfying and the creepy American tourist too cartoonish at times in his perversity. (less)