Harper Academic

Butter

A Novel of Food and Murder

by Asako Yuzuki, Polly Barton

On Sale: 03/04/2025

Price: $18.00

Butter

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Butter

A Novel of Food and Murder

by Asako Yuzuki, Polly Barton

On Sale: 03/04/2025

Format:

Price: $18.00

About the Book

A highly fresh and original novel following a journalist in contemporary Japan as she investigates a serial killer convicted of luring wealthy men in with her cooking classes only to seduce, murder, and rob them, and a gripping exploration of misogyny, obsession, and the pleasures and pressures of food

Journalist Rika Machida is facing an unusual assignment: she is tapped to investigate serial killer Manako Kajii, notorious for drawing rich men in with her pricey cooking classes, only to murder them and move on to the next. Kajii refuses to cooperate with the press until Rika writes her a letter asking for her beef stew recipe, a correspondence and ongoing series of conversations between the two women that sees Rika transforming as she becomes closer to Kajii, taking on some of her confidence and strength but also some of her deadly intention. Game on. 

Set in 2011, when dairy product shortages across Japan made butter a hot commodity, Butter depicts a vivid, panoramic view of contemporary Japan as seen through a diverse cast of Japanese women. An endlessly entertaining and sharply insightful look at the relationships between women and how they engage and challenge one another, revealing the many contradictions and complexities in the process, Asako Yuzuki’s novel is filled with intoxicating descriptions of food and the body that also looks deeply at its connection to the sinister, criminal, and taboo, its enduring power and delight.

Critical Praise

"[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

“The novel cleverly intertwines paeans to the pleasures of eating with indictments of Japan’s standards for women.”

New Yorker

"Asako Yuzuki has turned [Butter] into not just a fascinating psychological puzzle but also a damning indictment of Japanese misogyny and fatphobia." — New York Times

"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

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Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780063236417
  • ISBN 10: 0063236419
  • Imprint: Ecco
  • On Sale: 03/04/2025
  • Trimsize: 5.310 in (w) x 8.000 in (h) x 0.000 in (d)
  • Pages: 448
  • List Price: $18.00
  • BISAC1 : FICTION / Literary
  • BISAC2 : FICTION / Psychological
  • BISAC3 : FICTION / Contemporary Women