A stunning new work of the feminist noir that Natsuo Kirino defined and made her own in her novels Out and Grotesque.
In a crowded residential suburb on the outskirts of Tokyo, four teenage girls indifferently wade their way through a hot, smoggy summer and endless “cram school” sessions meant to ensure entry into good colleges. There’s Toshi, the dependable one; Terauchi, the great student; Yuzan, the sad one, grieving over the death of her mother—and trying to hide her sexual orientation from her friends; and Kirarin, the sweet one, whose late nights and reckless behavior remain a secret from those around her. When Toshi’s next-door neighbor is found brutally murdered, the girls suspect the killer is the neighbor’s son, a high school boy they nickname Worm. But when he flees, taking Toshi’s bike and cell phone with him, the four girls get caught up in a tempest of dangers—dangers they never could have even imagined—that rises from within them as well as from the world around them.
Psychologically intricate and astute, dark and unflinching, Real World is a searing, eye-opening portrait of teenage life in Japan unlike any we have seen before.
Natsuo Kirino made a spectacular fiction debut on
these shores with the publication of Edgar Award-nominated
Out (“Daring and disturbing . . . Prepared to
push the limits of this world . . . Remarkable”—Los
Angeles Times). Unanimously lauded for her unique,
psychologically complex, darkly compelling vision and
voice, she garnered a multitude of enthusiastic fans
eager for more.
In her riveting new novel Grotesque, Kirino once again depicts a barely known
Japan. This is the story of three Japanese women and the interconnectedness of
beauty and cruelty, sex and violence, ugliness and ambition in their lives.
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 a strict
social hierarchy decided their fates—and follow them through the years
as they struggle against rigid societal conventions.
Shedding light on the most hidden precincts of Japanese
society today, Grotesque is both a psychological investigation
into the female psyche and a classic work of noir fiction.
It is a stunning novel, a book that confirms Natsuo Kirino’s
Working the night shift at a boxed lunch factory in
Tokyo, four female co-workers find their lives inexorably
changed when they team up to dismember the body of
one of their good-for-nothing husbands, strangled in
a crime of passion. When the local police wrongly accuse
a Tokyo mob leader, the friends quickly discover that
the killing is merely the beginning of their troubles,
as their gruesome cover up takes them into the violent
underbelly of Japanese society.