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The Tale of Genji
Murasaki Shikibu, Royall Tyler
She Rises
Kate Worsley
Grotesque - Natsuo Kirino, Rebecca Copeland I liked this book up to the last two pages in which I'm not sure I wholly agreed with it ending the way it did. I will have to go back over it and read it again.

Grotesque is a vicious attack on Japanese society, the class system and the disparities between men and women, to the point that occasionally towards the end it sounded more like a rant against the world.

Kirino magnified the grotesque, the characters were warped and all of them had their fair share of monsterousness. It is hard to like a single character in this, in fact for the majority of the time it is hard not to hate them, to be disgusted with them. The narrator herself is a nasty piece of work. How can anyone be so warped, so bitter and full of hate?

Ultimately, Kirino blames our society - consumerism, the need for people to conform to their groups in order to fit in - the superficiality of our pointless, worthless lives.

Grotesque isn't so much a crime novel about two prostitutes who have been murdered - but a study of women today, the expectations they are under to achieve and their limitations to what they can achieve.

Kirino challenges the typical 'feminist' book that tends to portray 'strong women' instead she portrays a twisted representation of women and survival in a cut throat society.

The characters are seemingly unable to look at themselves objectively and see a distorted view of themselves - judging themselves to be superior to their peers through their own delusions. Each perspective in this book, firstly through the first person narrative - then through various diaries of the other characters - contains different perceptions of the same event, lies and truths all distorted in some way or other.

I think what Kirino wants us to do is look at ourselves in a different way, to see our own weaknesses and our delusions about who we are and the world we live in.