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Grotesque

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3.68  ·  Rating details ·  8,370 ratings  ·  877 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published March 13th 2007 by Knopf (first published 2003)
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Popular Answered Questions
Cedric The answer to this question is always the same. Just stop reading and move on to something else. Why would you read something you "seriously don't…moreThe answer to this question is always the same. Just stop reading and move on to something else. Why would you read something you "seriously don't care about"? There are tons of fascinating books out there. Go find one.(less)
Falyn There are a few sex scenes, mostly they are awkward and uncomfortable. There are a few (maybe two that I can recall) scenes that are violent. I have…moreThere are a few sex scenes, mostly they are awkward and uncomfortable. There are a few (maybe two that I can recall) scenes that are violent. I have definitely read more graphic scenes but they may still be upsetting depending on the reader. (less)

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3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,370 ratings  ·  877 reviews


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James
Apr 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Few books start with a crackerjack opening; Lolita, Anna Karenina, The Journalist and the Murderer
and Tale of Two Cities are the only other ones I know of. This is the 5th.

And for a while she reuses the opening idea when other characters are introduced.
An innovative technique.

That is, she's walking down the street, see's a man she's attracted to,
and begins to wonder what a baby would look like if she had one with him.
His eyes? His mouth? His chin? His ???

Do women all around the world think
...more
Paul Bryant
Feb 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
THE THREE LEVELS, OR, READING NOVELS IN TRANSLATION

Manny Rayner, peerless reviewmeister of Goodreads, insists that you should learn the language and then read the novels; all translation is ba-a-a-ad! I can’t disagree and if I had a machine which could stop time, I would certainly follow this advice. However, as I do not have such a device, I read the occasional translated novel and I come up with a variation of the problem here.

[Note - see discussion in messages below all about this interesting
...more
Jr Bacdayan
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are coming into this book expecting a mystery novel then I’m sorry to tell you that you are likely to be disappointed. This book shows a different face to mystery, more than the circumstantial kind, it offers something deeper, darker. It probes beyond merely what happens and dives into the inner being of those involved in the horrifying set of events that unfold. If I were to coin a name for this genre then I daresay this should be called existential mystery. It transcends the whodunit an ...more
NYLSpublishing
Aug 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to NYLSpublishing by: The NYLS Book Review
Recently, in a coffee shop near my home, I overheard one teenage boy intimating to another that if he were to ever marry it would not be to an American woman but a Japanese one because, “… they’re pretty, submissive, and just plain happy to be women.” Noting that more than a few eyelids batted at this exclamation, I wondered how these American teenagers happened upon their conclusions.

Kirino’s Grotesque is a tale of two sisters growing up in Japan. Yuriko, the youngest of the pair, lacks the me
...more
Supreeth
Well, there's too much of self-loathing, jealousy and depression, you'd either want to throw the damn book away or, you know, stay awake till three in the morning reading it. Would you want to torment yourself with bitter Japanese women ranting? If that's the case, read this book, there can't be a better book for that purpose. I guess female noir might just be my new favourite genre.

Natsuo Kirino is an angry woman, she hates the patriarchal Japanese society,so she writes about what sort of evil
...more
Aubrey
4.5/5
The pain of being treated like a mere object. And a sense that this pain would turn into pleasure.
I've noticed an expansion in my reading standards of late that is old enough to have partway integrated itself into instinct, young enough for the instincts themselves to seem of peculiar make. It all boils down to a sense that, alright, since so much is passed over for the sake of beauteous prose, how about the same be held to when it comes to uncommon ideological groundwork. An author's wri
...more
Ova - Excuse My Reading
May 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
I think I liked this novel as it offers a look to modern Japan.
I love reading crime novels from other countries and would definitely want to read Kirino again.

I've read a Turkish translation and I was happy with the result, seeing some other reviews here the English translation being choppy- I wanted to congratulate the Turkish translator.
Yulia
(3.75) The other reviews can reveal what this book is about. What I wanted to share is the extreme responses this book incited in my boyfriend and me. He alternately found himself loving the narrator, Yuriko's sister, for her brutal honesty and hating her for her malice and psychological bullying of Kazue. Meanwhile, I found myself rooting the narrator on as she spoke the cruel truth about the pitiful hopelessness of Kazue's meritocratic dreams, but a moment later I wondered if that made me a bu ...more
Mariana
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 para nada fue lo que esperaba. A ratos complejo de leer pero ufff, intenso. Es de esos libros que voy a tener que digerir antes de poder escribir una reseña en forma.
Tieu uyen
Không những xấu mà còn xoàng.
Viết theo kiểu nhật kí kiêm hồi kí, để kể về số phận của 4 cô gái, một cách lê thê vài dài dòng. Có cô muốn dùng khủng bố giết người để đạt được tình yêu và hạnh phúc, có cô dùng mại dâm để tự cho mình quyền lực và động lực để sống, có cô xem mại dâm như thỏa mãn tình dục, và cuối cùng người xưng tôi dẫn truyện lại định dùng mại dâm để kiếm thêm tiền ở cuối truyện càng làm truyện trở nên chán phèo, và khiên cưỡng.
Tác giả dựng nên nhân vật đều tối tăm mù mịt và giả t
...more
B
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nhìn bìa sách thì chẳng có gì sợ. Đại ý là những vết cào xước, rạch cứa trên da thịt tạo thành chữ “Xấu” nhưng do vẽ quá xấu nên thành ra nhìn trông xấu
Nhưng sờ vào nó thì cũng hơi hơi
Con đàn bà thứ nhất làm gái điếm, con đàn bà thứ hai y như vậy, con đàn bà thứ ba cũng hệt như thế.
Một người làm điếm khi mới còn trung học. Người nọ làm điếm cho dù giữ vị trí quan trọng ở một cty hàng đầu. Người kia làm điếm ở tuổi 40 mà lý do chưa thực hiểu thấu.
Nghe giống kiểu “Hồi ức về những cô gái điếm buồn
...more
Isabelle
Jul 24, 2008 rated it liked it
While I had loved "Out", I was interested but certainly not enthralled by "Grotesque".
Through recollections, confessions and diaries, we follow the destinies of 4 Japanese girls who meet in an exclusive Junior High School and drift apart through adulthood only to be reunited in the end through a trail of murders and sexual crimes. 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
...more
Ursa
Tôi đọc bản dịch của Quỳnh Lê, và rất may, đây là một bản dịch khá trơn tru, rành mạch. Song vẫn còn đôi chỗ xử lý chưa được mượt mà.

Thứ nhất, khó tính một chút, tôi thấy có lỗi ở khâu biên tập (edit), nhỏ thôi nhưng nằm ngay một khúc đối thoại cao trào nên dễ thấy và làm đứt mạch cảm hứng của người đọc. Thứ hai, tôi không hiểu sao đại từ xưng hô trong các tiểu thuyết Nhật Bản luôn bị dịch thành "cậu" và "tớ". Lúc các nv còn đi học thì còn chấp nhận được, nhưng tới lúc họ đều là người trung niê
...more
Judy
Aug 12, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2010
Grotesque is an exploration of many things. Japanese society, coming of age and also the yearnings / struggles of privileged women. I should probably mention that I read the Chinese translation of this book, and also that I didn't end up finishing the book.

I thought the book was long, drawn out and tedious. 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. The girl's older sister is the unnamed na
...more
Radhika
Jul 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
Natsuo Kirino is an impressive author. She has the power to really portray characters so vividly that I felt them get under my skin. I found myself detesting a character as if she was real. I found myself wrinkling my nose in distaste, hating some stupid things a person would keep doing, their blindness... I had to stop and remind myself that this was fiction and yet, time and again, Natsuo would draw me in. This is a rare gift and one that Natsuo employs to astounding results in this book. It i ...more
Marvin
Aug 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
a complex tale of class discrimination and sexual inequality. Natsuo Kirino may be the most socially astute of the current Japanese writers. She criticizes many things about Japanese culture; the role of women, the unfairness of the competitive school system, among others. She writes how this dehumanizes the participant, especially women. She does this in a harrowing tale of three women told by the older sister of a murdered prostitute. The story proceeds Rashomon style, narrated by the sister b ...more
Jasmine
I read this book because my teacher recommended it but apparently the why is beyond my comprehension. The more I read, the more uncomfortable I felt, partly because this book contained a LOT of truths about the unknown secret life of a prostitute, and partly because the author described the dark side of humanity too well that made me feel uneasy.

As for the background of the story, it was an adaptation of one of the most shocking news in Japan in 1997---Murder of Yasuko Watanabe(a senior economi
...more
Audrey
Sep 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Dane
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
After thinking on this book for a few days, my appreciation has continued to increase. This is a really wonderful novel that explores so many different issues in society. The main focus seems to on power dynamics. There is the dynamic between the rich, accustomed girls and the poorer newcomers at Q High School. There is the dynamic between men who pay for sex and the women they buy. There are tons of discussions on the privileges of family status, wealth, language, beauty, and the constant strug ...more
Tanja Berg
Rating 4* out of 5 stars. This book peers into the abyss of human conceit.

"I will launch my boat on a sea of hatred, mye eye on the far shore, wondering when I might make land."

Those are the words of the main narrator, who calls herself heartless. I couldn't find her name anywhere, maybe it was mentioned. The story revolves around the murder of Yuriko, the narrator's younger sister, and Kazue. All three women were ones studens at a well-known highschool.

It is a study in evil. None of the char
...more
Natasha
“For a girl, appearance can be a powerful form of oppression. No matter how intelligent a girl may be, no matter her many talents, these attributes are not easily discerned. Brains and talent will never stand up against a girl who is clearly physically attractive.”

I am sadly disappointed with this book. As I love the previous book I read of hers, Out.
So I had high expectations coming into this book.
I was ready for the thriller, suspense and the gory details.
But I didn't get that in this book.
T
...more
tee
Aug 20, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: i-own
I'm hovering between a 2 and 3 star rating for Grotesque. I think the main reason that I'm leaning towards a 2, is that the book felt tedious. But the lives of these people were tedious so really I was just feeling the emotion of the novel. I also struggled with reading a book where every character was so horrible; and not really horrible in an interesting way - like an outrageous gangster, or a powerful, crooked politician; horrible in a way that is similar to the vein of nastiness that probabl ...more
Pinkerton
Libro composto da tante tante pagine, eppure non è che io abbia poi molto da dire in merito. Certo non è quello che mi aspettavo: non appartiene al genere poliziesco o mystery, e nemmeno ai campi limitrofi. Si tratta della reazione ai due delitti da parte di una persona (meschina) che conosceva bene entrambe le vittime. Partendo letteralmente dal principio, la narratrice ci racconta l’intera vicenda, coadiuvata dai diari dell’assassino, della sorella, e dell’amica. Per poi ridursi ad un finale g ...more
Jim Elkins
Signs of Lack of Authorial Control, and Their Relation to Introspection

This is not the voice of a major novelist. She has gotten some great reviews, both here on Amazon and in print, but the reviewers are mainly discussing her work as a reflection of contemporary Japan: in other words, they are reading it as documentary evidence of social phenomena. As a novel, "Grotesque" is fairly poor. Two points about that.

1. In three sections of the book, we read texts written by characters other than the
...more
Em*bedded-in-books*
Grotesque in name, grotesque by content.
In recent times, I don't remember any other book that repelled me, as well as took hold of my soul to such an extent, as this one.
Female oriented story, seething with hatred, perversion, sickness of mind, and violence -about two sisters, the younger one, a beauty as never witnessed on earth, who spellbound people who look at her, a beauty so beautiful as to appear grotesque, the unfortunate elder sister who is average in mind as well as body, who is seeth
...more
Orbi Alter
Oct 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mracnija od Atwood u bilo koje doba dana, ali me podsjeca na nju jer su sve nijanse mraka koje se nalaze unutar korica ispisane predivnim stilom i kombinacijama razlicitih formi.
Groteskna je to studija ljudske psihe i svih onih sitnih, negativnih emocija koje se nakupljaju u zivotima. Traktat je to i o usamljenosti iz koje proizlaze svi ljudski demoni. Svi i sve pripovjedacice su nepouzdane, pa je tim bolje pratiti njihove karaktere dok isti dogadaj prilagodavaju svojoj viziji istine. U pricu up
...more
Mollie Hayward
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Having just read Out, I was excited to pick up Grotesque. I can't say I enjoyed it. Perhaps it is not meant to be enjoyed? I found it technically impressive, but it left me feeling soiled and unhappy. I would only recommend it to someone who needs to feel bad for a week or so.
Frij
Jul 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Önümüzdeki birkaç yılı Kirino okuyarak geçirmek istiyorum. Nasıl anlatsam Gillian Flynn'in evreni okyanusun orta katmanı ve içinizi ürpertecek canlılarla doluysa Kirino'nun evreni okyanus tabanı ve aklınızı alacak canlılarla dolu.
Izlinda
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jessica
Mar 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
I loved the author's earlier book, OUT, an incredibly compelling, as well as impossibly horrific & beautiful (if a bit too wild and implausible at the very end), novel. GROTESQUE is not as masterful although it is compelling in its own way. In this novel, Natsuo Kirino also deals with the lives of women in contemporary Japanese society, here through the lens of a cut-throat competitive educational system, the Q High School for Young Women. The principal narrator is a "half" (only half-Japane ...more
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1,463 followers
NATSUO KIRINO, born in 1951 in Kanazawa (Ishikawa Prefecture) was an active and spirited child brought up between her two brothers, one being six years older and the other five years younger than her. Kirino's father, being an architect, took the family to many cities, and Kirino spent her youth in Sendai, Sapporo, and finally settled in Tokyo when she was fourteen, which is where she has been res ...more
“For a girl, appearance can be a powerful form of oppression. No matter how intelligent a girl may be, no matter her many talents, these attributes are not easily discerned. Brains and talent will never stand up against a girl who is clearly physically attractive.” 104 likes
“In order to induce the process of decay, water is necessary. I think that, in the case of women, men are the water.” 82 likes
More quotes…