Friday, 8 April 2011
A-Z blogging challenge "G" - Grotesque
The last book I read (as part of my 2011 reading challenge, incidentally) was titled Grotesque, and was by Japanese author Natsuo Kirino. It's classed as a "crime" novel, but I saw it as something far beyond that. For a spoilers-n-all review written by me, click here. Otherwise, I am going to try and summarise it sans spoilers. It won't be easy, as I still don't know how to describe accurately the impact this book had on me.
On the cover of my copy is a quote from The Times: "cool, angry and stylish." I think this really sums up the book for me. But I'd add "sad, depressing and utterly tragic" to the mix. So why the heck did I keep reading it? Well, in parts it made me laugh and cringe at the same time. There was definite black humour. I also found myself holding out hope for the characters. And despite the grim ending some characters met, I feel like they did find peace at last.
I'm not convinced our protagonist (whose name we never learn, and I find that interesting in itself) ever was truly happy. Then again, maybe none of the characters were. Except Mitsuru in the end - and her story was hilarious, in a bleak sort of way. Top student, destined for success, which she did attain...and then... Well, you should read and find out. Hehe.
Another thing that kept me reading was Kirino's writing style (I know it was translated from Japanese, but I hope the result was true to her style), which I found darkly beautiful. I loved her description, which ensured I was really able to picture every scene in my head. I also like the style of this book - it's not just an ordinary narrative. There's also the transcript of a deposition, journal entries from the victims, and a single letter from a sad and lonely mother. Letters from a guilt-ridden old high school teacher too.
Basically I gave this book 5 stars on GoodReads, but I would've given it 10 if I could. I was surprised that the average GoodReads rating was so low (3.46), but oh well. Everyone's entitled to their opinion. :)