3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Riveting at times but definitely not for everyone,
This review is from: Out (Paperback)
Having just finished this book, I'm still trying to find a way to digest the ending.
I'm an avid reader and a fast one at that, however it took me an unusually long time to get through this book due to parts of it being so disturbing I simply had to think about something else for a little while. That is the beauty of the work and what makes it so riveting, the fact that it will get under your skin and you'll find yourself thinking about the characters over your morning cuppa and as you walk to work.
Kirino is certainly a talented woman. I felt her characters come to life, the four ladies in particular whose choices and the consequences of these the reader is drawn into. I found myself admiring Masako in spite of her unusual gift of making bodies disappear. I felt sadness for Yoshi and such irritation and loathing towards Koniko!
Certainly a compelling read and I found that when I could stomach it again I was keen to hurriedly turn the pages and read more.
So why the mediocre score?
Unfortunately, as I have found in so much Japanese fiction, books and movies alike, there's a heavy emphasis on rape and sexual molestation. And Kirino makes a point of letting the reader know that the women just happen to LOVE it. Even if she doesn't like it at first, she realises how great it feels eventually and out emerges a moaning groaning porn star. There's a redeeming bit here and there to justify it all, such as the poor man is simply lonely or the girl is so horny she wouldn't mind a bit of molestation to get her through the day so it's totally fine, as though the girl is being done a favour by having her inner sexuality drawn out with a bit of rape. I sound sarcastic and scathing, however it really does bring down the tone of the book which could otherwise be a disturbing account of the recesses of the human mind.
The way females throughout the story are described or treated in different scenes are no doubt a reflection of a different culture and Kirino does not shy away from this depressing truth in her book, explaining in depth the gap between the sexes and how they are treated in the workplace for example. However I find it unusual to read such graphic descriptions of a woman being savagely beaten and raped to death yet somehow orgasmically and happily so. Then for the story to have more rape scenes, again of course, with a woman who is overcome with orgasmic feelings as she is violated after an initial angry reaction. That strikes me as cheap shot to shock the reader or perhaps a peek into the author's own dark fantasies.
In summery, I wish I hadn't come across this book, but I did thanks to a gift and I find it near impossible to get rid of books without reading them. It's going to stay with me a while which makes me think that it will be a good and riveting read for some. But I wouldn't recommend it for anyone who has a history of sexual abuse or worse as it is not, as I myself presumed, simply a very dark thriller. It'll mess with your mind and make you look over your shoulder if you'r walking home alone on a dark night. Creepy!