Grotesque is one of the most disturbing books I’ve read in a long time. The characters all have complex and disturbing social problems. The environment of the story, a Japanese girl’s school and Japanese corporate culture, is rife with ugly abuses of social position. And the narrator, who is indirectly the main character, is so removed from her own world that she’s seemingly unaware that she’s just as screwed up as the people she introduces. Grotesque is a crime novel after a fashion, but it’s more character study and criticism of Japanese culture than the standard fare you might see from the works of someone like John Gregory Dunne. What amazes me most about Grotesque is the story is completely translated from Japanese and reads like a brilliant work of English fiction. If you’re looking for some out of the ordinary reading material, this latest work from Natsuo Kirino definitely fits the bill.