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Now You're One of Us [Paperback]

Asa Nonami

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Book Description

Dec 18 2007
In the tradition of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca and Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby, here is a new classic about the bride who's no longer sure what to think. All families have their own rituals, secrets, and credos, like a miniature religious cult; these quirks may elicit the mirth or mild alarm of guests, but the matter is rather more serious if you're marrying into a household. If its's a Japanese one with a history, the brace yourself: some surprising truths lurk around the corner.

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Review

“This pulpy family psychodrama is hugely entertaining – like watching some filmed version of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test from an adapted screenplay by Mario Puzo and directed by Yasujiro Ozu.” — Time Asia
“Asa Nonami's NOW YOU'RE ONE OF US does for marriage what "Jaws" did for a day at the beach, and males and females alike will surly get a chill out of it.” — Fearsmag.com
“No unearthly monsters. No ghosts. No curses. Not even a single drop of blood decorates these pages. The tropes of traditional, Western horror are completely ignored in this Japanese novel, and yet it evokes a sense of dread which is nothing less than genuinely disturbing.”- HorrorReader

“The story's unpredictability is what makes it so suspenseful and successful.” — Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest

“A different country, a different culture, and characters who create something far more fishy than sushi, make for a very unusual reading experience. Jolting and disturbing, this is a powerful work; it’s an unconventional tale despite the conventional gothic trappings.” — Hellnotes

“Nonami twists Japanese societal norms ever so effectively, turning charm into creep and happiness into horror.” — Agony Columns

“An interesting dose of Japanese culture, mores, and history.” — Complete Review

“A creepy psychological thriller.”- The Gline

“I like the psychological mystery and unique Japanese perspective in this novel.” —Basugasubakuhatsu
“This isn't quite Science Fiction, though I kept wondering if cloning or genetic modification would emerge as the man behind the curtain. Instead it's a story about old arts and the bending of wills, the keeping of secrets, and the thick blood of family.” —SFRevu

About the Author

Asa Nonami is one of Japan's most popular and versatile authors, with dozens of bestselling novels across various genres to her credit. Her acute and accessible critiques of Japanese society have won her the heartfelt support of women in particular. She won the first annual Japan Mystery Suspense Award for debut talent in 1988 and the prestigious Naoki Prize for excellence in popular fiction in 1996.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting story that fizzles in the end Sept. 28 2011
By TChris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Noriko Hashimoto's reservations about marrying Kazuhito and joining the Shito household -- complete with siblings, parents, grandparents, and his great-grandmother -- are quickly dispelled by the sunny, welcoming personalities the family members display. To an unnatural degree, the family members embrace Noriko, viewing her as a "treasure" who will, in some unspoken way, be the family's salvation. Noriko is puzzled but flattered; she soon joins in the family's routines. All seems well until an old ice vendor tries to warn Noriko about the family, only to be interrupted by Noriko's mother-in-law before he can voice his concerns. When the ice vendor and his family die in an explosion, Noriko begins to suspect that the Shito family is not as perfect as it seems. A friend in whom she confides tells her: "You haven't married into money, you've married into a swamp of madness."

But what sort of madness underlies the apparent perfection of this extended family? Are they criminals? Are they deviants, living apart from the social norms that Noriko has always accepted? Noriko feels alienated, in part because she doesn't share the family's unnatural closeness (to quote an ancient issue of Mad magazine, "the family that bathes together, stays together," an apt description of the Shitos). Noriko observes an apparent sexual flirtation between siblings that concerns her, even as the family members shrug off her objections to their lifestyle. From the beginning, Noriko is subjected to a form of brainwashing designed to transform her into a true Shito. Her attempt to share her concerns with a friend only results in a new round of confusion and trouble.

For most of the novel, Noriko is stifled in her effort to understand the Shitos, as is the reader. While the reader shares Noriko's suspicions about the family's true nature, Asa Nonami keeps the family's secret well hidden. When the truth is finally revealed, however, it seems both anti-climactic and beyond improbable. Moreover, while it is easy to empathize with Noriko's plight, I found it difficult to accept that the familial brainwashing would so completely transform her belief system.

As I've found to be true with other thrillers translated from Japanese, the writing style is straightforward but uninspired. Perhaps it was the plainness of the prose that kept me from becoming engrossed in the story. More likely it was my eventual realization that Nonami was driving toward a destination that scarcely seemed worth reaching. The story of the Shito family is odd but not particularly shocking (although perhaps it was so regarded in 1993 when the novel was first published in Japan) -- not a good outcome for a novel that clearly aspired to provoke gasps. In short, Now You're One of Us tells an interesting story but fizzles out with a disappointing ending that doesn't match the promise of the novel's first half. It is a significantly less successful novel than The Hunter, the only other novel by this popular Japanese writer that I've read.
3.0 out of 5 stars Wow Jan. 14 2013
By PQUAL921 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good book, weird but good. This was required reading for a Feminist Gothic class, otherwise I wouldn't have purchased it. It's a good read with some real twists. The seller sent it on time and in great shape.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quick Paced May 10 2010
By Loves Books - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I liked this book. It is quick paced and draws in the reader. A little creepy, but that's kinda the point.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now You're One of Us Dec 23 2009
By K. Goda-Korcsolan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I thought the book was very good! It was a very good thriller. I think it showed a perfect example of how people can become brainwashed and manipulated. The ending isn't what I would call a "happy" or "sad" ending. It's just how things go sometimes, much like reality.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different Oct. 18 2008
By P. Bergbauer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Asa Nonami has a talent for building up suspense.
The writing is well done, the characters are described well enough to draw you into the story so the ending has its affect on you.
This is a fast paced read and I look forward to trying another of her books.

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