The goddess chronicle

Natsuo Kirino, 1951-

Book - 2013

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FICTION/Kirino Natsuo
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Subjects
Genres
Fantasy fiction
Published
Edinburgh ; [Berkeley, Calif.] : New York : Canongate ; Distributed by Publishers Group West [2013], c2012.
Language
English
Japanese
Item Description
"First published in Great Britain in 2012 by Canongate Books Ltd., Edinburgh, Scotland"--T.p. verso.
Physical Description
312 p. ; 21 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (p. 311-312).
ISBN
9780802121097
0802121098
Main Author
Natsuo Kirino, 1951- (-)
Other Authors
Rebecca L. Copeland, 1956- (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Kirino is best known for her award-winning crime fiction, including the teenage noir, Real World (2008), and the struggle of a prostitute in Grotesque (2007). With her latest novel to be translated into English, Kirino steps away from the crime-fiction form to rework the legend of Japan's genesis into a tale of betrothal, betrayal, and vengeance. According to myth, Izanami was killed by her husband, Izanagi, and sentenced to rule the Realm of the Dead. Similarly, Kirino's character Namima, a 16-year-old who breaks the taboos of her island home, and who regains consciousness to find that she's been strangled by Mahito, her betrothed. Namima meets the goddess Izanami in the underworld, and the two work together to uncover Mahito's selfish motivations. While ostensibly a departure from her familiar genre, Kirino's foray into folklore shares similarities with her earlier novels, namely, female characters who, wronged by lovers, choose to resist societal expectations and fight to rectify injustice. Readers who enjoy crime fiction or re-envisioned myth will find that this imaginative veneer works well on such reliable scaffolding. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Award-winning Japanese crime fiction writer Kirino (Out; Grotesque) contributes to the latest installment of the "The Myths" series, originally published by Britain's Canongate, in which contemporary writers retell myths. Previous volumes have included Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus and David Grossman's Lion's Honey: The Myth of Sampson. Kirino here retells the eighth-century creation myth of Izanami and Izanaki—the original female and male gods whose union produced the Japanese islands—in a novel framing of two sisters, one fated to become the next Oracle to serve the "realm of light," the other who will serve the "realm of darkness." Unwilling to accept her fate, Namima attempts an escape that damns her to Izanami's Realm of the Dead. Readers will find echoes of Orpheus and Eurydice as well as Persephone and Demeter. VERDICT The double narrative never quite meshes and often feels clumsily forced. Still, best-selling Kirino's many devotees will likely provide a ready audience.—Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC [Page 74]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Kirino (Real World) wows with her latest novel. On an unnamed small island, two sisters grow up, just a year apart in age. Kamikuu, the eldest, is destined to be the island's next Oracle, following in their grandmother Mikura-sama's footsteps. On her sixth birthday, Kamikuu is taken from her family to begin her training while Namima, the younger sister, is left behind, having been told she is considered "the impure one." When, years later, Mikura-sama dies, Namima learns her fate is not to take over her sister's lofty position but to be the "priestess of darkness." However, Kamikuu's younger sister has a secret: she has broken the laws of her tribe and is now carrying the child of an outcast inhabitant of the island. This betrayal only worsens Namima's position, consigning her directly to the Realm of the Dead to serve the Goddess of the Underworld. Namima must undergo a journey, during which she encounters deceit and seeks retribution, before she can find peace. Kirino's elegant writing brings Namima—a tragic, sympathetic heroine—to vivid life. Readers will devour this tragic story and be left transformed. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM. (Aug.) [Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

In a place like no other, on an island in the shape of a tear drop, two sisters are born into a family of the oracle. Kamikuu, with creamy skin and almond eyes, is admired far and wide; Namima, small but headstrong, learns to live in her sister's shadow.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Raised in her beautiful sister's shadow on a mystical island, headstrong Namima is ordained to guide the spirits of the dead to the underworld while her sister becomes her family's next oracle, a fate that guides her from a first experience of love to a scalding betrayal that compels her pursuit of vengeance. By the award-winning author of Out.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Raised in her beautiful sister's shadow on a mystical island, headstrong Namima is ordained to guide the spirits of the dead to the underworld while her sister becomes her family's next oracle, a fate that guides her from her first experience of love to a scalding betrayal.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

From internationally bestselling crime writer Natsuo Kirino comes a mythical feminist noir about family secrets, broken loyalties, and the search from truth in a deceitful world.

In a place like no other, on a mystical island in the shape of tear drop, two sisters are born into a family of oracles. Kamikuu is admired far and wide for her otherworldly beauty; small and headstrong Namima learns to live in her sister’s shadow. On her sixth birthday, Kamikuu is chosen to become the next Oracle, serving the realm of light, while Namima is forced to serve the realm of darkness—destined to spend eternity guiding the spirits of the deceased to the underworld.

As the sisters serve opposite fates, Namima embarks on a journey that takes her from the experience of first love to the aftermath of scalding betrayal. Caught in an elaborate web of treachery, she travels between the land of the living and the Realm of the Dead, seeking vengeance and closure.

At the heart of this exquisitely dark tale, Kirino masterfully reimagines the ancient Japanese creation myth of Izanami and Izanaki. A provocative, fantastical saga, The Goddess Chronicle tells a sumptuous story of sex, murder, gods and goddesses, and bittersweet revenge.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

In a place like no other, on a mystical island in the shape of tear drop, two sisters are born into a family of oracles. Beautiful Kamikuu is admired far and wide; Namima, small but headstrong, learns to live in her older sister’s shadow. On her sixth birthday, Kamikuu is chosen as the next Oracle, while Namima is forced to become the goddess of darkness, destined to spend eternity guiding the spirits of the deceased to the underworld. As the sisters serve opposite fates, so begins a journey that will take Namima from her first experience of love to scalding betrayal. Caught in an elaborate web of deceit, she travels from the land of the living to the Realm of the Dead and back again seeking vengeance and ultimate closure.Natsuo Kirino turns her hand to an exquisitely dark tale, masterfully reinventing the Japanese creation myth of Izanami and Izanaki. The Goddess Chronicle is a tale as old as the earth about sibling rivalry, ferocious love, and bittersweet revenge.