This plan is to read 50 fiction books in 2012. I got a bit behind in my posting entries when I went on vacation for a month. However, I will catch up on past reads and I have 5 months left to get a pile of reading done. Before I left on vacation, I finished off Grotesque by Natsuo Karino. The book is basically a crime story that follows a nameless young women in high school whose sister and her friend have been murdered. By reading their diaries, she discovers that her sister (and the friend) are not the people that she thought she knew, but actually fell into the dark world of underage prostitution in Japan.
The novel wasn't my style, but I found it interesting nonetheless. I always feel like these translated novels lose a lot in the conversion from one language to another. I had also read online that the North American version had been heavily edited due to the references to underage prostitution that were 'unacceptable' for our 'delicate sensibilities'. So, it is hard to say what has been lost in translation and editing. As for the style, it is a crime novel without any bite - no tension, no suspense, no satisfying resolution. However, the characters and the setting are quirky and foreign enough to keep the readers interest. Everything is just so matter-of-fact that I couldn't get into it. That, and the narrator is so negative and filled with hate that it wears you out after about 5 chapters.