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Life at the prestigious Q High School for Girls in Tokyo exists on a precise social axis: a world of insiders and outsiders, of haves and have-nots. Beautiful Yuriko and her unpopular, unnamed sister exist in different spheres; the hopelessly awkward Kazue Sato floats around among them, trying to fit in.Years later, Yuriko and Kazue are dead — both have become prostitutes and both have been brutally murdered.
Natsuo Kirino, celebrated author of Out, seamlessly weaves together the stories of these women’s struggles within the conventions and restrictions of Japanese society. At once a psychological investigation of the pressures facing Japanese women and a classic work of noir fiction, Grotesque is a brilliantly twisted novel of ambition, desire, beauty, cruelty, and identity by one of our most electrifying writers.
following the killing in Tiananmen Square. I had not heard anything about the demonstrations, and had a hard time believing what I was seeing. The woman with the crafty face took up the remote control and turned off the television. The men, looking nervous, quickly averted their eyes, trying to avoid the woman’s gaze, and exchanged uneasy glances. The room we were in was massive. It looked like it could sleep up to twenty or thirty people. I suppose it was done in what you would call the rococco
doubt about that. But you can’t just pick it up. You have to have talent too. Those who succeed have talent. And so I say, I’ve got the talent. I’ve been inspired.” My grandfather scribbled the Chinese ideographs for inspiration in the air in front of his face. And then he drew the characters for fanatic. I drank my tea and watched wordlessly. After a long time my grandfather noticed me sitting at the kitchen table. “Is there any left for your grandpa?” “There is, but it’s cold now.” I pointed
spend so much on a single bonsai; it seemed to me that the swindled were worse than the swindler. Of course, the probation officer didn’t see it that way. He was furiously poking his hand though the air around him. “Plenty of people in this area got rich off the compensation money paid when they lost their fishing grounds. This whole area used to be under the ocean, you know.” “Under the ocean?” I gasped in spite of myself, completely forgetting the bonsai. I suddenly realized that the love
office assistants clearly didn’t like me. University women who had entered the firm after me were working less and getting ahead. In short, I had slipped off the fast track. I had clearly been shifted from the winners to the losers. Why would that be? Because I was no longer young. And I was a woman. I was doing a lousy job aging and I could no longer build a solid career. “It’s really gotten to me. I feel like I want to get revenge.” “Revenge? On who?” Arai looked up at the ceiling. “I suppose
after a five-day drought. I’d called Yoshizaki any number of times to get him to see me, but he told me he was too tied up with entrance exams to get away. Then I tried Arai, but apparently he’d been sent to the main office in Toyama and wasn’t available. So I spent my nights in vain, standing silently in front of the Jiz statue waiting for customers who never came. I began to feel impatient with the hopelessness of my situation. In the cold months, there weren’t many men loitering around. So I