Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino
Posted on 21 July 2007
What will propel human to buy a book that’s not usually their choice? The first thing that caught my eyes were the book cover. A totally captivating, even eerie big eyes with purple eyeshadow, with no visible hair, white porcelain face, and lipsticks with smudges.
Usually I deemed a book good enough to buy if I’m still interested in the story after reading the first 10 pages. But this book? Right from the moment I flipped to the first page, I’m totally enthralled…
You would have thought that a person as gorgeous, breathtakingly beautiful and may I say, perfect woman (since she was a toddler!)like Yuriko Chan would have the whole world under her feet. With beauty like hers, she can do whatever she wants, get away with whatever she wants, and live a stupendously rich and famous life – without ever needing half a brain.
You would also have thought that a person as enthusiastic, optimistic (albeit a little skewed), hardworking, and smart like Kazue Sato, who graduated from one of the most elite and prestige University in Japan and got into one of the largest firm, whom her dad was a long term employee, immediately after her graduation, will already have a brilliant career path laid out in front of her – irregardless of how she looks.
So what these 2 ladies have in common?
They were both prostitutes.
And they were both killed.
Now how did these two ladies with sparkling futures ever sank into the throes of selling their own bodies to even survive a normal day mentally and physically? Well, not trying to be a lousy sport, but you absolutely have to read the book to comprehend it.
And oh, everyone remembers the evil stepsisters of Cinderalla, yes? Yuriko-chan has a dark & twisty elder sister too. She is smart academically, but is constantly living under the immense shadow of her sister’s stunning beauty as she’s nothing like her sister. A part of her loathe Yuriko, a part of her love Yuriko, a part of her yearned to be like Yuriko, a part of her repelled at the thought of ever being even remotely like Yuriko. In the end… in the end, I guessed you could say she finally heeded her “calling”… eventually, at the age of forty.
This book’s grim, gruesome, sordid, daring, disturbing and certainly not for the faint-hearted. However, it is also artistically, drastically and ingeniously written.
And I quote:
I suspect there are lots of women who want to become prostitutes. Some see themselves as value commodities and figures they ought to sell while the price is high. Others feel that sex has no intrinsic meaning in and of itself but allow individuals to feel the reality of their bodies. A few women despise their existence and the insignificance of their meager lives and want to affirm themselves by controlling sex much as a man would. Then there are those who are actuated by violent, self-destructive behavior. And finallly we have those who want to offer comfort. I suppose there are any number of women who find the meaning of their existence in similar ways. But I was different.
Kudos to the talented Natsuo Kirino.
“Grotesque” is her second book that got published in English. Her first book it “Out” – which I intend to read! Read more about it here.
So How Do I Rate It? 9/10
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