Butter: A Novel of Food and Murder (Hardcover)

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Butter: A Novel of Food and Murder By Asako Yuzuki, Polly Barton (Translated by) Cover Image
By Asako Yuzuki, Polly Barton (Translated by)
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Staff Reviews

The cult Japanese bestseller about a female gourmet cook and serial killer, and the journalist intent on cracking her case, Butter is getting its English-language debut in the capable hands of translator Polly Barton. A deliciously sinister read that goes down smooth.

— From Our Most-Anticipated Books for April 2024



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 simply cannot tolerate: feminists and margarine.

Gourmet cook Manako Kajii sits in the Tokyo Detention House convicted of the serial murders of lonely businessmen, whom 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 master class in food than journalistic research. Rika hopes this gastronomic exchange will help her soften Kajii, but it seems that Rika might be the one changing. With each meal she eats, something is awakening in her body. Do she and Kajii have more in common than she once thought?

Inspired by the real case of a 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.

About the Author

Asako Yuzuki was born in Tokyo in 1981. She won the All Yomimono Award for New Writers for her story “Forget Me, Not Blue,” which appeared in her debut novel, published in 2010. She won the Yamamoto Shugoro Award in 2015. She has been nominated multiple times for the Naoki Prize, and her novels have been adapted for television, radio, and film. Butter is her first novel published in English. 

Praise For…

"[Asako] Yuzuki takes a thrilling look into female relationships, revealing the complex nature of modern-day social conventions pertaining to a woman’s appearance and her place in the home, and enriching the proceedings with mouthwatering descriptions of food. Like the meals Yuzuki describes, this leaves the reader satiated." — Publishers Weekly

"An unputdownable, breathtakingly original novel about true crime, loneliness and female appetite in all its tricky, transgressive glory. I will be spoon-feeding Butter to every woman I know." — Erin Kelly, author of The Skeleton Key

"A delectable meditation on appetite, fatphobia and misogyny in modern Japan – Butter is a salty morsel with one hell of a bite." — Alice Slater, author of Death of a Bookseller

"An intriguing and unusual novel with a fresh perspective [that] defies categorization: part psychological exploration of misogyny and fatphobia, part social commentary on contemporary Japan and the roles and expectations of the women who live there." — Library Journal Advance Reviews

"Ambitious and unsettling … a thought-provoking and surprisingly feelgood take on friendship, transgressive pleasures, and society’s impossibly contradictory expectations of women." — Guardian

"Exuberant, indulgent romp of a novel … Butter is a full-fat, Michelin-starred treat that moves seamlessly between an Angry Young Woman narrative and an engrossing detective drama and back againYuzuki has crafted an almost Dickensian cast of fleshy characters, with just as many surprise connections … Let this book bring you under its spell." — The Times (UK)

"It'll make your mouth water." — Irish Independent

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063236400
ISBN-10: 0063236400
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: April 16th, 2024
Pages: 464
Language: English