RARA-AVIS: Kirino reviewed in SF Chronicle

From: mhall@berkeley.edu
Date: 25 Mar 2007

Jealous teen welcomes sister's death Reviewed by David Cotner

Sunday, March 25, 2007

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By Natsuo Kirino; translated by Rebecca Copeland

KNOPF; 467 PAGES; $24.95

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Outwardly, Natsuo Kirino's new novel, "Grotesque," is a mystery novel, set in Japan after the turn of the millennium. The story revolves around the murder of Yuriko, the usuriously vacant and beautiful younger sister of the nameless narrator, and the subsequent and related murder of Kazue, the narrator's less attractive but scholastically driven schoolmate. Both women have fallen from grace to the rock-bottom pit of whoredom. The narrator is possessed with an unstoppable anhedonia. She's unable to enjoy even the most basic interactions with men, and she imagines all the possible gross and hairy implications of any relationship that might result. As the novel unfolds, the narrator's lifelong envy for Yuriko's beauty reaches an almost operatically venomous pitch. In fact, "Grotesque" is a vengefully mesmerizing obituary written in the voice of a woman who is often a total stranger to the women she envies. She views their lives through the covetous prism of her shortcomings, angrily re- dissecting memories shot through with corrosive emotions.

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