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Natsuo Kirino Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Out (2003)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Grotesque (2007)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Real World (2008)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Koizora (With: Kirstin Chen) (2022)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Canongate's The Myths Books

A Short History of Myth (By:Karen Armstrong) (2004)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Penelopiad (By:Margaret Atwood) (2005)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Weight (By:Jeanette Winterson) (2005)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Helmet of Horror (By:Victor Pelevin) (2005)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Where Three Roads Meet (By:Salley Vickers) (2005)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Goddess Chronicle (2013)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

About Natsuo Kirino

The Japanese author Mariko Hashioka has become highly regarded as an author with something to say over her long and illustrious career. Becoming a name in the genre of Japanese detective fiction, her Natsuo Kirino pseudonym has become a massive source of inspiration for numerous other writers writers worldwide. Extremely influential, she keeps the reader continually guessing throughout, as her work is known for being highly immersive. Exuding an extremely evocative ambiance, she allows her readers to explore her rich and atmospheric fictional worlds.

Over time she’s become hugely popular worldwide, reaching audiences far and wide, really making herself a household name for many. Creating vivid visuals, her writing is rich in the depiction of the worlds that she creates, really allowing the fully explore them. Taking her audience on a journey essentially, she also says something important in her work, providing her readers with a fresh perspective and insight. Not holding back, she’s a confident writer with a lot to say, with her work being accessible and easy to follow, while also being difficult to put down.

Crafting strong characters with fully three-dimensional personalities, she brings each of her protagonists to life upon the page. This approach has ensured her popularity worldwide, as readers have returned to her stories time and time again for more. Allowing her readers to essentially lose themselves in her fiction essentially, she creates richly immersive stories that are also well-paced, both in terms of suspense and momentum. With a lot more to come in the future as well, she’s a writer with plenty more to say in the future as well, as her writing career carries on growing.

Early and Personal Life

Born in 1951 on the 7th of October, Mariko Hashioka would grow up in the Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, in Japan. Raised as the middle daughter between two brothers, her father was an architect, and she would go on to live in numerous cities. Marrying in 1975, she would later have a daughter in 1981, as she would go on to focus upon her writing during her thirties.

Attending Seikei University, she would receive a law degree in 1974, and would apply herself to many crafts before focusing on writing. Working in a movie theater at Iwanami Hall, she would later take scriptwriting classes prior to her thirtieth birthday, leading to her becoming an author. Currently living in Tokyo, she would become popular as a writer during her forties, and continues to write to this very day.

Writing Career

Starting out in 1984, she would begin her literary career by focusing upon romance novels, but these weren’t where her passion lay. Turning her attention towards writing mystery novels, she would begin to have more success with these during the nineties. These would become a lot more popular, most notably her novel ‘Out,’ which came out in 1997, and would receive the ‘Mystery Writers of Japan Award.’

Using the template of American hard-boiled detective novels, Kirino hoped to pose serious questions to readers, while also providing comfort. Succeeding, her novels deal with people dealing with awful events taking place, and how they must overcome them. Translated internationally, her work has reached readers far and wide, finding her a global audience who have come to relate to her writing.

Out

This crime-thriller novel coming out under the pen-name of Natsuo Kirino would make a powerful impact upon its release. Published in 1997 on the 15th of July, it would be a stand-alone novel, not being a part of any overall series, with a self-contained narrative. Winning awards, it would really set the template for much of what was to come from Kirino as an author in the years to follow. Some of the subject matter is quite difficult, with some extremely graphic scenes, but it deals with them sensitively.

Working the night-shift packing lunch-boxes, a young mother is living a staid existence in a Tokyo suburb, that is until she snaps. Strangling her deadbeat husband, she seeks to dispose of the body quietly, as her co-workers come to her aid, with ring-leader Masako Katori leading the way. Seeking a way of their straitjacketed life, they get caught up in the criminal world, dealing with everything from the Yakuza to seasoned detectives on the case. Will they manage to break free, can they find a way out of their predicament, and are they ever going to find a way out?

Combining graveyard humor with the crime thriller, there’s so much to enjoy here, in what is an exciting and engaging novel. Instantly grabbing the reader and pulling them in, there’re elements of ‘Thelma and Louise’ here, as the women attempt to break free from the claustrophobic rigmarole of society. Told in an entertaining and engaging manner, the story really delivers on every level, as it’s easy to get into, yet impossible to put down.

Grotesque

Another stand-alone crime-thriller novel, this would initially come out in 2003, and it would also have a self-contained narrative. The story is effectively a mystery, although the narrative moves back and forth charting the lives of two young murdered victims. Again there’s also some difficult subject matter depicted here, and it’s also confidently handled with care and sensitivity.

With two sex-workers brutally murdered in Tokyo, the bodies of Kazue and Yuriko leave behind questions of who they were. The narrative then looks back at their stories, with Yuriko’s older sister overseeing it all, charting back to the prestigious high-school of Yuriko, and the strict social hierarchy. Dealing with social conventions, the story explores how their lives came to an end, finding who murdered them both. Where did their stories once begin, who were they once both, and why were they killed in murder most grotesque?

Dealing with social issues, Kirino makes the most of her compelling premise here, really capturing the attention of her audience. The story itself is extremely evocative, making for an extremely compelling narrative with characters that resonate. Drawing the reader in from the outset, the book is a creative and intelligent look at issues, while also being a well-told crime-thriller.

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