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.
About the Author
Natsuo Kirino, born in 1951, quickly established a reputation in her country as one of a rare breed of mystery writers whose work goes well beyond the conventional crime novel. This fact has been demonstrated by her winning not only the Grand Prix for Crime Fiction in Japan for Out in 1998, but one of its major literary awards--the Naoki Prize--for Soft Cheeks (which has not yet been published in English), in 1999. Several of her books have also been turned into feature movies. Out was the first of her novels to appear in English and was nominated for an Edgar Award.TRANSLATOR: Rebecca L. Copeland, professor of Japanese literature at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, was born in Fukuoka, Japan, the daughter of American missionaries. She received her Ph.D. in Japanese Literature from Columbia University in 1986. She has published numerous scholarly studies on and translations of modern Japanese women's writing.
“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