The back cover gives acclamations such as "grim, gruesome and powerful", "Sensational...daring and disturbing" and "Remarkable" - what I found remarkable is that I had mysteriously forgotten how to read properly that day - had I done so, I would have noted that these transcendent outpourings were for an entirely different book altogether!
I reasoned that something had to be wrong by page 42... which is when I checked the back again and it was shortly afterwards that my head started to hurt (banging one's head on the wall tends to do that). OK. So 'Out', also written by the author Natsuo Kirino is apparently amazing, but what that has to do with 'Grotesque'? Another carefully planned PR stunt, no doubt.
Stunts aside, halfway through this book I wanted to launch it at someones head, the bin or simply take it back to the shop and ask for my money back. The only aspect of this book that got under my skin is the nauseating fact that I paid for the privilege of reading this self-indulgent drivel.
I despise all the cheap-rate, two-dimensional characters. The plot is consumed by sex (mostly prostitution but with some incestuous and perverted sex acts as well for good measure) and not much else. Wait - there is a lot of hate, anger and jealousy in there too. Girls are depicted as either snobbish, just plain nasty or both. My,my - and someone hates their mother! There isn't a single mother figure that gets away scrape-free. Freud would have a field-day with this one... I find Kirino's style of mixing apparent narrative with that of a diary, mundane and ordinary - except for the fact that the 'diary' is not written like a diary at all - it's just more nonsense written with fewer rhetorical questionings. There is little originality - chapter title "A natural-born whore" is more than an indication of the base tones of this novel.
A classic example of ignoring what's on the back cover and save yourself the agony of muddling through this garbage - it would try the patience of a saint to get through this without clenching teeth and jaw. I lost count of the number of times I rolled my eyes in aggravation - it was just pointless, unnecessary and utterly dire.
If you're tempted because the author may have managed to produce something worthwhile previously - for god's sake get a hold on yourself and walk away quickly.
We interview C J Daugherty about Night School
- 10 January 2012