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Asako Yuzuki

Forfatter af Butter: A Novel of Food and Murder

6 Værker 207 Medlemmer 9 Anmeldelser

Værker af Asako Yuzuki

Butter: A Novel of Food and Murder (2022) 198 eksemplarer, 7 anmeldelser
王妃の帰還 (2013) 4 eksemplarer, 1 anmeldelse
La gula (2022) 2 eksemplarer, 1 anmeldelse

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"Butter by Asako Yuzuki is a captivating mystery thriller that defies conventions with its unique narrative approach. Unlike typical mysteries, the plot unfolds gradually, blending elements of contemporary fiction seamlessly into its storyline. Yuzuki's writing style is as smooth as butter, enhancing the reading experience. Unexpectedly intertwined with Asian recipes, the novel delves deep into the minds of a serial killer and a journalist without losing its pace. Despite Kajji's negative characterization, she intricately connects every character in the narrative.

The novel also explores complex relationships, posing thought-provoking questions about sacrifices in love. As tensions between characters like Kajji and Rika escalate, readers are compelled to take sides, adding to the book's suspenseful climax. For a unique and thought-provoking read, Butter deserves a solid 5-star rating."
… (mere)
Sucharita1986 | 6 andre anmeldelser | Jul 1, 2024 |
I loved this book. Not really a murder mystery but rather a deep introspection into a female journalist’s self image as she learns more about herself while interviewing a serial killer in prison for a magazine story. The killer insists the journalist try the tastiest foods, with butter of course, in Tokyo and tells her all about them in return for more interviews. Heaven forbid, the journalist gains some weight. She then realizes how society so poorly treats women who are not stick thin, and the misogynistic world she often finds herself. This book is so important about self acceptance. It touched me deeply as I’m going through personal changes and trying so hard to accept myself as I am now. A few times the book was just gross, such as describing scabs. Ewww. But the food descriptions were amazing! I felt like some readers have missed the point of the book thinking it’s just about food. I think it’s such an important book for women in Japan and everywhere. And it’s very well written.… (mere)
KarenMonsen | 6 andre anmeldelser | Jun 25, 2024 |
I found the premise of Butter: A Novel of Food and Murder by Asako Yuzuki (translated by Polly Barton) to be truly intriguing. The plot revolves around Rika Machida, a thirty-three-year-old journalist who pursues a story on the suspected serial killer, Manako Kajii who enticed men she met on dating sites with her lavish cooking and extracted huge sums of money from them. After three of her suitors were found dead under mysterious circumstances, the now thirty-five-year-old Kajii was found guilty and is currently awaiting her second trial after appeal while being held in a detention facility. Initially reluctant to talk to Rika, she agrees to meet her after Rika expresses her interest in Kajii’s cooking. Though Kajii refuses to talk about the case, she is more than eager to share her views on food (butter being an integral ingredient in her recipes) and as the narrative progresses, we follow how Rika’s approach to life, her worldview, and of course, her relationship with food changes and beliefs about body image change as she is drawn into Kajii’s world.

Inspired by true events (the 2012 case of the 'Konkatsu Killer' Kanae Kijima), this is a slow-moving lengthy character-driven novel that touches upon themes of friendship, food and culture, family, misogyny, societal expectations, feminism, body image and self-acceptance.

The story primarily revolves around how Rika’s life is impacted as a result of her association with Kajii and her obsession with Kajii as a person which often derails her from her investigative intentions before she begins to see Kajii for exactly who she is. Kajii is an interesting character- straightforward, unapologetic and shrewdly manipulative. All the characters are well thought out and the descriptions of the food and Kajii’s recipes make for interesting reading. I particularly enjoyed how the author incorporates folklore into the narrative and found how the parallels between the same and the events in the novel are drawn fascinating.

Please note that the “murder” element is not a central theme of this novel, which I did find a bit disappointing. Several sub-plots are woven into the story and I did feel that the narrative digressed often and lost momentum as it progressed. The author has touched upon several relevant themes in this novel and the author is brutally honest in her depiction of the unpleasantness that women have to deal with in terms of body image and how the same affects one's sense of self-worth. Despite the slow pace and digressions, the story is engaging and kept me invested as details from both Rika’s and Kajii’s lives were gradually revealed with several twists and surprises along the way. Though I didn’t enjoy the novel as much as I had hoped (which I believe was partly because I expected a bit more focus on the criminal aspect), I certainly found it to be an interesting read.

Many thanks to Ecco for the digital review copy via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
… (mere)
srms.reads | 6 andre anmeldelser | Jun 12, 2024 |
"I learned from my late father that women should show generosity towards everyone. But there are two things I can simply not tolerate: feminists and margarine."

Rika is a journalist working for a Newsmagazine in Tokyo, and she wants to eventually become the first woman editor in the newsroom, able to write her own articles. Work takes up all of her time; she has a boyfriend she sees on the infrequent occasions they both have the time and energy to spare and her meals are bento boxes or prepared food bought in convenience stores on her way home. Kajii is a convicted murderer who lured lonely businessmen to their deaths with her unctuous care and carefully prepared meals. She was a media sensation after her blog, which explained her philosophy on pleasing men and about her culinary experiences was discovered. Now that the initial media scrum has died down, Rika wants to interview her, hoping to produce something that will help her career, but it's not until she asks about a recipe that she finally gets Kajii's permission to visit. What follows is a sort of cat and mouse game, as Kajii's instructions send Rika on a journey that upends her relationship to food and has a ripple effect on her own relationships, including the one with her best friend, a woman who chose to step away from her career in the hopes of starting a family.

This book does involve both food and murder, but this isn't a crime novel, or one that features recipes. Instead, it's a look at misogyny and fatphobia in Japan and how the expectations placed on women are ones they can never meet. Yuzuki takes her time with this story, using the space to illuminate the different impossible positions women are faced with. Expected to nurture and care sacrificially not just for their children, but also for their husbands, the skills they use to do so are seen as frivolous and unimportant. Expected to devote themselves fully to their jobs, they are constantly reminded that they need to find a husband and have children. While this portrayal of Japanese society is a stark one, there are plenty of similarities to life in western countries.

This novel makes a strong argument for paying attention to what we eat, to choose to make a simple meal over grabbing something pre-made, to learn to enjoy the process of creating something edible and to pay attention to the flavors. The interplay between three very different characters works so well here, leading two of them to find their own ways to exist that give them the strength to withstand the pressures put on them. I remained fascinated throughout the novel and eagerly await for more from this extraordinary author to be translated into English.
… (mere)
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RidgewayGirl | 6 andre anmeldelser | Jun 4, 2024 |



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