This is one of those books that you will love or hate. Now You're One of Us is a slow, suspenseful story that revolves around Japanese culture. In a way, I think it is the various cultural elements that add to the plot and move it forward and thus, you have to keep it in mind, in order to enjoy the novel.
The story is about a woman, Noriko, who becomes part of a large family when she marries one of their sons, Kazuhito. As she gets used to the quirky ways of living with more folks in one house, she starts worrying about them. More specifically, she thinks that they have dark secrets and that no one is what they seem. It all comes down to one weird little secret being revealed at the end where she has to make an important decision – does she have what it takes to be one of them?
Two things come to mind when thinking about this plotline. Firstly, there is the extended family system which might be a strange concept for most of us who have grown up in busier, urban settings. Secondly, there is the idea of a woman moving in with the man's family as opposed to them starting life anew. Both of this creates a sense of emotional alienation; it enhances her stance as an outsider. Unlike them, she is a newcomer and thus, has not been witness to many events that make them who they are. At the very least, that would have helped explain some of their strange ways. Plus, being a female who is now cut off from her own family, it certainly gives a certain sense of helplessness at being so far from a support group. All in all, these two elements are what add to the freaky nature of the overall story. It may be a sluggish storytelling style (at least some may argue that) but it is the portrayal of these two elements over time which provides that scary atmosphere.