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Butter: A Novel of Food and Murder by Asako Yuzuki (Hardcover)

Butter: A Novel of Food and Murder by Asako Yuzuki (Hardcover)

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Fiction - Literary - Psychological 

Translated by: Polly Barton


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.


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. 

“A tale of loneliness and desire, full of an urgency that is proof of the author diving down deep within herself to grasp the darkness there. Even descriptions like ‘a perfect masterpiece’ and ‘crème de la crème’ are inadequate for a book like this.” -Michiko Mamuro, Croissant

 “An indubitable masterpiece.”-Daisuke Yoshida, Shosetsu Shincho
“With writing masterful enough that you gulp it down breathlessly despite its length, and full of the delight that comes from carrying you off to utterly unexpected destinations, this is a tour de force that will leave readers satisfied.” -Ryo Asai (author), Yomiuri Shimbun
"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
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