Friday, March 24, 2023

6 Books with Iori Kusano

Iori Kusano is an Asian American writer and Extremely Ordinary Office Gremlin living in Tokyo. They are a graduate of Clarion West 2017 and their fiction has previously appeared in Apex Magazine and Baffling Magazine. Find them on Twitter @IoriKusano and Instagram as iori_stagram, or at

Today they tell us about their six books.

1. What book are you currently reading?

I am reading The Bluegrass Conspiracy by Sally Denton in preparation for the upcoming movie COCAINE BEAR, which is my personal pan Most Anticipated Movie of 2023. It is a true story of greedy people doing unhinged things. Unfortunately, a great many greedy people did these unhinged things, so I'm having trouble keeping the massive cast of characters straight--I might need to make a chart soon. (The book is not about the bear, which is a shame, because I think the bear probably has the most interesting character arc.)

2. What upcoming book are you really excited about?

I'm absolutely feral with how much I want to read Exit Ghost by Jennifer Donohue. Hamlet is my very favorite Shakespeare, so a modern version is absolutely my jam. The second it hits my Kindle I will probably just stop answering my emails for two days while I enjoy it. I have elaborate plans for wine and a charcuterie board so that I won't have to stop reading to cook.

3. Is there a book you’re currently itching to re-read?

I think I'm really in the mood for a comfort read, so I'm probably going to dive back into The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery. I could do with something pleasantly low-stakes and domestic.

4. A book that you love and wish that you yourself had written.

The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. Her narrative sleight of hand is out of this world--MWT is absolutely top-class at giving the reader all the clues to understand what's happening and still surprising you. The first time I read this book, my skull opened like a jewelry box and my brain popped up to do some ballet. The second and third times, I got to actually catch the clues that build up to the big twist, and the context of knowing the whole story makes it extra delicious.

5. What’s one book, which you read as a child or a young adult, that has had a lasting influence on your writing?

Can I cheat and give you a series? Because I just can't pick a favorite out of the thirteen books in A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. I grew up surrounded by the kinds of adults that Lemony Snicket writes about, and his narration was absolutely pivotal in helping me learn how to laugh about it. I would not be able to be as blunt about horrible things if I hadn't read Snicket.

6. And speaking of that, what’s your latest book, and why is it awesome?

My debut novella, Hybrid Heart, will be out from Neon Hemlock on 28 March! It is a story in which a pop idol navigates the cyberpunk dystopia of Tokyo two-emperors-hence with a brainful of corporate surveillance tech and realizes that she shouldn't have used her real name on social media, much less friended her boss. What it's actually about is deciding to stop being complicit in your own exploitation

Thank you, Iori!

POSTED BY: Paul Weimer. Ubiquitous in Shadow, but I’m just this guy, you know? @princejvstin.