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Butter: A Novel of Food and Murder de Asako…
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Butter: A Novel of Food and Murder (edició 2024)

de Asako Yuzuki (Autor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1877148,272 (3.78)9
"The cult Japanese bestseller about a female gourmet cook and serial killer and the journalist intent on cracking her case, inspired by a true story. There are two things that I can simply not tolerate: feminists and margarine. Gourmet cook Manako Kajii sits in Tokyo Detention Center convicted of the serial murders of lonely businessmen, who she is said to have seduced with her delicious home cooking. The case has captured the nation's imagination but Kajii refuses to speak with the press, entertaining no visitors. That is, until journalist Rika Machida writes a letter asking for her recipe for beef stew and Kajii can't resist writing back. Rika, the only woman in her news office, works late each night, rarely cooking more than ramen. As the visits unfold between her and the steely Kajii, they are closer to a masterclass in food than journalistic research. Rika hopes this gastronomic exchange will help her soften Kajii but it seems that she might be the one changing. With each meal she eats, something is awakening in her body, might she and Kaji have more in common than she once thought? Inspired by the real case of the convicted con woman and serial killer, "The Konkatsu Killer," Asako Yuzuki's Butter is a vivid, unsettling exploration of misogyny, obsession, romance and the transgressive pleasures of food in Japan." -- Jacket flap.… (més)
Membre:PatriciaBalster
Títol:Butter: A Novel of Food and Murder
Autors:Asako Yuzuki (Autor)
Informació:Ecco (2024), 465 pages
Col·leccions:Books from the Library, Llegit, però no el tinc
Valoració:****
Etiquetes:Cap

Informació de l'obra

Butter: A Novel of Food and Murder de Asako Yuzuki

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» Mira també 9 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 6 (següent | mostra-les totes)
"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." ( )
  Sucharita1986 | 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. ( )
  KarenMonsen | 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. ( )
  srms.reads | 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. ( )
1 vota RidgewayGirl | Jun 4, 2024 |
Asako Yuzuki's novel, Butter, is based on the real life story of Kanae Kijima, a talented amateur chef who seduced, financially exploited, and killed three men, for which crimes she was convicted in Japan. The media frenzy that followed this trial was a misogynistic orgy, spreading beyond Kijima's crimes to affect any woman in its periphery, including the cooking school she had once attended. I did not know this before I read the book, and knowing it now, I can't shake off the feeling that the novel is a bit exploitative of the real circumstances: too close to the facts to be fiction, too far from the facts to be truthful.

Having said that, in Yuzuki's fictionalized retelling, a journalist, Rika Machida, reaches out to the fictionalized killer, Manako Kajii. Where others have failed to secure interviews, Rika succeeds - by asking her for the recipe for a dish she made for one of her victims, shortly before killing him. In a series of interviews, Rika is mesmerised, falling under Kajii's spell, only to snap out of it - almost too late. The book is filled with descriptions of food, mostly related by Kajii, who notes, contemptuously, that there are two things she cannot stand: "feminists and margarine". At Kajii's prodding, Rika, who conforms to Japan's obssession with thin women, eats butter - and other things, putting on weight.

The book is a serious exploration of misogyny and the double standards around physical appearances in Japan. It examines how women are pressured to maintain a certain look, and how harshly society treats people who don't conform. It also demonstrates how difficult it is for women to overcome the burden of domestic expectations. Kajii insists that a woman's role is to conform to male fantasies: to cook, to attend, to comfort. Rika, on the verge of professional success in a male dominated field, is the opposite: a stark contrast.

The book is very long and the plot moves quite slowly, but I found it easy to read and interesting enough to hold my attention. I'm a bit ambivalent about how I feel regarding the subject matter, though.
1 vota rv1988 | Apr 30, 2024 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 6 (següent | mostra-les totes)
In places, the plot development leaves an artificial taste, and for all the catharsis of the finale, the buildup is a little slow. It’s at its best when it fully commits to its foodie pretensions, as Yuzuki injects her social critique with the kind of descriptive flavour bombs that will have readers licking their lips. “This was a different kind of deliciousness […] a more blatant, forceful deliciousness, that took hold of her from the tip of her tongue, pinned her down, and carried her off to some unknown place.” At such moments, it isn’t entirely clear whether to read the novel or devour it.
afegit per rv1988 | editaThe Guardian, Josh Weeks (Mar 10, 2024)
 
Ultimately, this is true crime at its most superficial — exploiting the story of a real murderer while revealing little about the society in which she committed her violence.
afegit per rv1988 | editaFinancial Times, Max Liu (Feb 22, 2024)
 

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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Yuzuki, Asakoautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Footman, HanakoNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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Wikipedia en anglès

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"The cult Japanese bestseller about a female gourmet cook and serial killer and the journalist intent on cracking her case, inspired by a true story. There are two things that I can simply not tolerate: feminists and margarine. Gourmet cook Manako Kajii sits in Tokyo Detention Center convicted of the serial murders of lonely businessmen, who she is said to have seduced with her delicious home cooking. The case has captured the nation's imagination but Kajii refuses to speak with the press, entertaining no visitors. That is, until journalist Rika Machida writes a letter asking for her recipe for beef stew and Kajii can't resist writing back. Rika, the only woman in her news office, works late each night, rarely cooking more than ramen. As the visits unfold between her and the steely Kajii, they are closer to a masterclass in food than journalistic research. Rika hopes this gastronomic exchange will help her soften Kajii but it seems that she might be the one changing. With each meal she eats, something is awakening in her body, might she and Kaji have more in common than she once thought? Inspired by the real case of the convicted con woman and serial killer, "The Konkatsu Killer," Asako Yuzuki's Butter is a vivid, unsettling exploration of misogyny, obsession, romance and the transgressive pleasures of food in Japan." -- Jacket flap.

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