My name is Namima. I was barely sixteen when I died. Now I make my home among the dead, here in this realm of darkness ...
Natuso Kirino is a leading figure in the recent boom of female writers of Japanese hard-boiled crime fiction. A prolific writer, she is most famous for her 1998 novel, Out, which received the Grand Prix for Crime Fiction, Japan's top mystery award and was a finalist (in translation) for the 2004 Edgar Award. So far, four of her novels have been translated into English: Out, Grotesque, Real World and What Remains. Rebecca Copeland is a professor of Japanese literature at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where her research and teaching focuses on women, gender, and translation studies. A fan of Natsuo Kirino's work, she also translated her 2003 novel Grotesque
Daring and disturbing . . . [Kirino is] prepared to push the human
limits of this world . . . Remarkable * * Los Angeles Times * *
It is one of the most unexpected and playful novels to emerge from Japan in recent years . . . a triumph. In its boldness and originality, it broadens our sense of what modern Japanese fiction can be -- (for Real World) * * Telegraph * *
Be prepared for a book utterly unlike anything we are used to in crime fiction -- (for Real World) * * Independent * *
Got my heart beating -- (for Out) Rose Tremain * * Daily Telegraph * *
In her wildly far-reaching tale of relations between gods and men, men and women, life and death, darkness and light, Natsuo Kirino tells a peripatetic, global, and truly satisfying love story of how it is to be human * * Stella Duffy * *
Kirino's retelling is a taut, disturbing and timeless tale, filled with rage and pathos for the battles that women have to fight every day, battles which have, apparently, existed from the moment of creation -- Tan Twan Eng * * the Guardian * *
I have to say I had a wonderful experience reading this novel because not only Natsuo Kirino has once again captured my attention through her great writing skill and her most unforgettable plot, but what most made this book such a satisfying read is the thought-provoking message behind the story. I couldn't put my feelings into words; this is one novel that you need to read it to experience it * * Melody's Reading Corner * *
What an enjoyable tale I found this to be, involving: love, loss, betrayal, hatred and revenge with great storytelling qualities, memorable characters an epic and mythical read . . . A tale that will have you captivated and fully intertwined, a love story that will remain in your mind and felt in your heart for many cycles of the Sun * * More2Read * *
[Izanami and Izanagi's] story provides a point of comparison and contrast with Namima's . . . All is wrapped up in clean prose that gives this engaging novel a mythic feel of its very own * * Follow the Tread * *
The Goddess Chronicle dissects the myths of female helplessness, power and vindictiveness with simplicity and empathy. And like all myths that transcend boundaries, it will resonate with women of every culture -- Ong Sor Fern * * The Straits Times * *
Kirino (Real World) wows with her latest novel. On an unnamed small island, two sisters grow up, just a year apart in age. Kamikuu, the eldest, is destined to be the island's next Oracle, following in their grandmother Mikura-sama's footsteps. On her sixth birthday, Kamikuu is taken from her family to begin her training while Namima, the younger sister, is left behind, having been told she is considered "the impure one." When, years later, Mikura-sama dies, Namima learns her fate is not to take over her sister's lofty position but to be the "priestess of darkness." However, Kamikuu's younger sister has a secret: she has broken the laws of her tribe and is now carrying the child of an outcast inhabitant of the island. This betrayal only worsens Namima's position, consigning her directly to the Realm of the Dead to serve the Goddess of the Underworld. Namima must undergo a journey, during which she encounters deceit and seeks retribution, before she can find peace. Kirino's elegant writing brings Namima-a tragic, sympathetic heroine-to vivid life. Readers will devour this tragic story and be left transformed. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Award-winning Japanese crime fiction writer Kirino (Out; Grotesque) contributes to the latest installment of the "The Myths" series, originally published by Britain's Canongate, in which contemporary writers retell myths. Previous volumes have included Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus and David Grossman's Lion's Honey: The Myth of Sampson. Kirino here retells the eighth-century creation myth of Izanami and Izanaki-the original female and male gods whose union produced the Japanese islands-in a novel framing of two sisters, one fated to become the next Oracle to serve the "realm of light," the other who will serve the "realm of darkness." Unwilling to accept her fate, Namima attempts an escape that damns her to Izanami's Realm of the Dead. Readers will find echoes of Orpheus and Eurydice as well as Persephone and Demeter. VERDICT The double narrative never quite meshes and often feels clumsily forced. Still, best-selling Kirino's many devotees will likely provide a ready audience.-Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.