Natsuo Kirino – ‘Grotesque’


I don’t really know what to say. I was amazed. This book is an extraordinary rumination about big ideas like gender, economic class status, Japanese and Chinese society. But this is also one of the most intense depictions of the complex nature of human emotions. There is horror here as characters descend into madness and brokenness and death. But it is never so overwhelming that I felt I wanted to put it down. It is a “page turner,” but I felt sometimes that I should set it down, out of respect for the loss these characters endure.

I went into this expecting a mystery, a detective novel. I come out of it thinking so many things, chief among them that I will read all of Kirino’s translated work. ‘Grotesque’ is quite simply on of the best books I have ever read.