Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino

Grotesque (Vintage International)
Pages (Paperback): 544 pages
Publisher: Vintage
Released: February 12, 2008

Quick Thoughts: Ever since I read Out, I've been a fan Natsuo Kirino. She has a way of taking writing things that you just don't expect, or taking a small situation and making it into something strange and crazy. I love it!

Review: Usually, I would write about the novel here and mention what happens, without spoiling the book, of course. But somehow, I feel like if I even attempted to do that I would ruin the experience of the readers who decide to pick up this book. For me, the story, which is intriguing and keeps you on your toes, isn't the main thing or the driving force of this novel. It's the characters. You have the Miss Hirata who is spiteful, and cruel. Her sister, Yuriko Hirata, a narcissist, who is incredibly beautiful, Kazue Sato, a sad individual, and Zhang, a Chinese immigrant who killed both Yuriko and Kazue.

Through these four people, the story unfolds and you slowly learn why Yuriko and Kazue, both of which were prostitutes, were killed.

Final Thoughts: This isn't as amazing or mind blowing as Out, but it did have its moments. One of the things that I loved about this book was how I didn't like anyone. I couldn't get myself to like Yuriko, and understood why her sister hated her. But she was an interesting character and shows how even though you are beautiful, life isn't always full of roses. I wanted to like the Miss Hirata, but she seemed so spiteful and hateful about her life and sister that I just pitied her. I understand why she hates her sister, I do, but after 30 some years, she should have gotten over it.

With Kazue, I felt so bad for her because I understood why she was doing what she was doing. She reminded me of someone who tries to fit in, who doesn’t think of themselves as good enough, even though they are at the top of their class and work incredibly hard to succeed in life. Had someone helped her and worked on her self-esteem issues, she might not have died. Zhang, the most interesting character out of the four, I won’t say much about him, but I will say that I loved what Kirino did with him.

This is truly a book where you won't like anyone, I know I didn't, but Kirino wrote it in such a way that even though you didn't like anyone, or relate to them, you wanted to hear their stories and see what happens next. The dark, ugly side of the characters truly represents the title of this novel, Grotesque. It’s not pretty and it’s disturbing for the most part, but there is something about the novel that I just a great time in reading. It’s not a book for everyone, but I for one, loved almost every minute of reading it. My only complaint is that it is a little slow to get into, but once the story picks up, you quickly forgive it.

Just a note, I was reading some reviews of Grotesque and found that the publishers censored the end of the book, which is a shame, since it did feel like you were missing something. Hopefully, there is a version that has the complete ending out there.

Grade: 9 out of 10

Is this review a little too big, read the shorter verison at 5 Line Reviews.

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