Sunday, 1 March 2009
Am I paying off some kind of horrible karmic book debt ?
February turns out to have been the month of cursed reading choices for me, for much to my chagrin, Natsuo Kirino's Grotesque is, to be blunt, a complete piece of shit. I would like to apologize to you for bringing you more book crankiness, so please don't hold this post against me. But how do I apologize to myself for the time I spent on this, just hoping it would somehow become even half, nay a quarter!, as good as Kirino's previous novel, Out?
I can't apologize and indeed I'd think of scourging my back with some stinging plant product made into a whip in shame and repentance if this novel hadn't already been the reading equivalent thereof.
Grotesque is about the murders of two middle-aged prostitutes in Tokyo, linked by the narrator who is sister of one and former high school "friend" of the other. I think Kirino tries to revisit in this novel the complicated social position of women in modern, urban Japan that she so effectively and chillingly considered in Out. But somehow that doesn't come across here; all that comes across is that women and girls are total bitch-fests into serving themselves and getting at others in the pettiest and most devious ways possible.
Irritating misogyny aside (if I could put it aside, which I can't), this book was just boring - the machinations of the narrator just weren't interesting and her constant harping on all the things that bugged her were infuriating precisely because they were so unrelentingly uninteresting. I felt like punching her in the mouf and telling her to shaddap.
All I can say is, it's a good thing I borrowed this book from the library because otherwise I'd really be irked! This is one of the many reasons why I love libraries: we support them by patronizing them, and they support us by sometimes saving us from spending money on pure shite.
Anyway, enough negativity. On a positive note, I'm dispensing with the keeping track of how many books I read per year thing. I realized that for reasons I don't get (but I'm sure the word "obsessive" would appear somewhere in the explanation) I had become quite attached to the numbers game and was thus losing out a bit on pure reading fun; indeed, I had stopped enjoying the collection of Henry James short stories I've had on the go for most of the past year because I was all worked up about not finishing them during this blog year. Lame.
Here's to not caring about numbers (except, of course, for the 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge!) and to not reading any more sub-par books until the summer at the very earliest. I feel like a terrible book would be somewhat more palatable were I reading it outside on a patio somewhere.