Out: 2021 high quality A Thriller sale

Out: 2021 high quality A Thriller sale

Out: 2021 high quality A Thriller sale
Out: 2021 high quality A Thriller sale_top

Description

Product Description

Nothing in Japanese literature prepares us for the stark, tension-filled, plot-driven realism of Natsuo Kirino’s award-winning literary mystery Out .

This mesmerizing novel tells the story of a brutal murder in the staid Tokyo suburbs, as a young mother who works the night shift making boxed lunches strangles her abusive husband and then seeks the help of her coworkers to dispose of the body and cover up her crime. The coolly intelligent Masako emerges as the plot’s ringleader, but quickly discovers that this killing is merely the beginning, as it leads to a terrifying foray into the violent underbelly of Japanese society.

At once a masterpiece of literary suspense and pitch-black comedy of gender warfare, Out is also a moving evocation of the pressures and prejudices that drive women to extreme deeds, and the friendships that bolster them in the aftermath.

Review

A nervy thriller. . . . Out has the force of a juicy tabloid scandal. . . . A potent cocktail of urban blight, perverse feminism and vigilante justice.” – The New York Times Book Review

“Scarily omniscient. . . . Like Walter Mosley, [Kirino] exploits the beat-down potential of the hard-boiled novel to depict life on society''s bottom in ways that subtly read as one part social protest, one part sadomasochistic entertainment.” –The Village Voice

“A gutsy, unflinching foray into the darkest, most dangerous recesses of the human soul. . . . Riveting, hair-raising . . . definitely not for the faint-of-heart.” –Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Mingling biting feminist commentary with engrossing storytelling . . . a scathing allegory about the subjugation of women in Japanese society and the secret lives this forces them to lead.” –The New York Times

“Masterful and psychologically astute.” – San Francisco Chronicle

“A brutally realistic picture of contemporary society. . . . Spare, unsentimental.” – Newsweek

“So dark, so gruesome . . . it left this reader reeling. No gritty urban American tale of violence can match the horror of Out.” –Carol Memmott, USA Today

“Daring and disturbing, Out is prepared to push the limits of this world–not only in violence and sex but also in human outlook. . . . Remarkable.” – Los Angeles Times

“Truly a universal tale. . . . Kirino knows not only everybody’s business but everybody’s mind–her way with interior monologue is pungent and prismatic.” – The Village Voice

“Brings the mystery thriller to new levels of intensity and realism. . . . Out has great plot twists, vigor, and an ending that would make Hannibal Lecter smile.” – Library Journal (starred review)

“Sensational.” – Time Out, NY

“Finally, a masterpiece in this genre . . . . a novel that realistically shows how ordinary people can be drawn into committing brutal crimes.” — Prize Jury, Mystery Writers of Japan

“Forget about flower arranging and geisha girls. . . . Out offers an intriguing look at the darker sides of Japanese society while smashing stereotypes about Japanese women.” – Washington Post Book World

“A knuckle-clenching thriller.” – Entertainment Weekly

“Grimly satisfying . . . like no one you’ve ever read before.” – Kirkus Reviews

Out descends beneath the genre’s foundation to provide a remarkable series of insights into the forces that drive the charnel house of a postindustrial culture.” – American Book Review

“Dark, seductive and occasionally brutal, Out explores the lower classes of Japanese society with a distinctive gallows humor.” – Book

“A gutsy, unflinching foray into the darkest, most dangerous recesses of the human soul. And the book’s riveting, hair-raising final scenes, although definitely not for the faint-at-heart, serve as an unsettling reminder that the desperate desire for freedom has the potential to set any ordinary individual among us off down a very dark and lonely road.” – Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Out turns the whole subservient geisha image on its head.” – Jane

“Absurdly compellingÉa superb and riveting thriller.” – Book Trust (UK)

“An exciting, disturbing read. . . . Kirino’s Tokyo is an unexpected place, far from the glamorous stereotype.” – Telegraph (UK)

“A feminist revenge plot meets social critique and hardcore horror in a startling Japanese mix of satire and sensation.”– The Independent (UK)

“A page-turning thriller that at the same time delivers one of the most powerful wallops for feminist literature in recent memory.”–Telegraph Magazine (UK)

From the Back Cover

Nothing in Japanese literature prepares us for the stark, tension-filled, plot-driven realism of Natsuo Kirino''s award-winning literary mystery Out."
This mesmerizing novel tells the story of a brutal murder in the staid Tokyo suburbs, as a young mother who works the night shift making boxed lunches strangles her abusive husband and then seeks the help of her coworkers to dispose of the body and cover up her crime. The coolly intelligent Masako emerges as the plot''s ringleader, but quickly discovers that this killing is merely the beginning, as it leads to a terrifying foray into the violent underbelly of Japanese society.
At once a masterpiece of literary suspense and pitch-black comedy of gender warfare, Out is also a moving evocation of the pressures and prejudices that drive women to extreme deeds, and the friendships that bolster them in the aftermath.

About the Author

Natsuo Kirino, born in 1951, quickly established a reputation in her own country as one of a rare breed of mystery writer whose work goes well beyond the conventional crime novel. This fact has been demonstrated by her winning not only the Grand Prix for Crime Fiction in Japan–for Out in 1998–but one of its major literary awards–the Naoki Prize in 1999, for Soft Cheeks (to be published in English). Several of her books have also been turned into full-scale movies.

Out is the first of her novels to appear in English and was nominated for an Edgar Award. Natsuo Kirino lives in Japan.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Night Shift

1


She got to the parking lot earlier than usual. The thick, damp July darkness engulfed her as she stepped out of the car. Perhaps it was the heat and humidity, but the night seemed especially black and heavy. Feeling a bit short of breath, Masako Katori looked up at the starless night sky. Her skin, which had been cool and dry in the air-conditioned car, began to feel sticky. Mixed in with the exhaust fumes from the Shin-Oume Expressway, she could smell the faint odor of deep-fried food, the odor of the boxed-lunch factory where she was going to work.

"I want to go home." The moment the smell hit her, the words came into her head. She didn''t know exactly what home it was she wanted to go to, certainly not the one she''d just left. But why didn''t she want to go back there? And where did she want to go? She felt lost.

From midnight until five-thirty without a break, she had to stand at the conveyor belt making boxed lunches. For a part-time job, the pay was good, but the work was backbreaking. More than once, when she was feeling unwell, she''d been stopped here in the parking lot by the thought of the hard shift ahead. But this was different, this feeling of aimlessness. As she always did at this moment, she lit a cigarette, but tonight she realized for the first time that she did it to cover the smell of the factory.

The boxed-lunch factory was in the middle of the Musashi-Murayama district, facing a road that was abutting the gray wall of a large automobile plant. Otherwise, the area was given over to dusty fields and a cluster of small auto repair shops. The land was flat and the sky stretched in every direction. The parking lot was a three-minute walk from Masako''s workplace, beyond another factory, now abandoned. It was no more than a vacant lot that had been roughly graded. The parking spaces had once been marked off with strips of tape, but dust had long since made them almost invisible. The employees'' cars were parked at random angles across the lot. It was a place where no one would be likely to notice someone hiding in the grass or behind a car. The whole effect was somehow sinister, and Masako glanced around nervously as she locked the car.

She heard the sound of tires, and for an instant the overgrown summer grass that bordered the lot shone in the yellow headlights. A green Volkswagen Golf cabriolet, top down, drove into the lot, and her plump co-worker, Kuniko Jonouchi, nodded from the driver''s seat.

"Sorry I''m late," she said, pulling the car into the space next to Masako''s faded red Corolla. Her driving seemed careless, and she made more noise than necessary putting on the hand brake and closing the car door. Everything about her was shrill and gaudy. Masako stubbed out her cigarette with the toe of her sneaker.

"Nice car," she said. The subject of Kuniko''s car had come up a number of times at the factory.

"You really think so?" Kuniko said, sticking out her tongue in pleasure at the compliment. "But it''s got me up to my eyes in debt." Masako gave a noncommittal laugh. The car didn''t seem to be the only source of Kuniko''s debts. She had nothing but designer accessories, and her clothes were obviously expensive.

"Let''s go," Masako said. Sometime after the New Year, she''d begun to hear talk of a strange man hanging around the road that led from the parking lot to the factory. And then several of the part-timers had reported being pulled into the shadows and assaulted before barely escaping; so the company had just issued a warning that the women should walk in groups. They set off through the summer darkness along the unpaved, ill-lit road. On the right was a ragged line of apartment blocks and farmhouses with large gardens-not particularly appealing but at least a sign of life in the area. On the left, beyond an overgrown ditch, was a lonely row of abandoned buildings: an older boxed-lunch factory, a derelict bowling alley. The victims said that their attacker had dragged them between the deserted buildings, and so Masako kept careful watch as she and Kuniko hurried along.

From one of the apartment houses on the right, they could hear a man and woman arguing in Portuguese; more than likely they worked at the factory. In addition to the housewives who worked part-time, the factory employed a large number of Brazilians, both ethnic and of Japanese descent, many of them married couples.

"Everybody''s saying that the pervert is probably a Brazilian," said Kuniko, frowning into the darkness. Masako walked on without answering. It didn''t make much difference where the man was from, she thought, there was no cure for the kind of depression that came from working in that factory. The women would just have to protect themselves as best they could. "They say he''s a big, strong man, that he grabs the women and holds them without saying a word." Something in Kuniko''s tone betrayed a hint of longing. Masako felt that Kuniko was somehow blocked, closed off, like a thick cloud cover obscuring the stars at night. From behind them came the sound of squeaking bicycle brakes, and when they turned nervously to look, they found an older woman straddling her bike.

"So, it''s you two," she said. "Hi." It was Yoshie Azuma. She was a widow in her late fifties, with nimble fingers that made her the fastest worker on the line. The other women had taken to calling her "Skipper" out of grudging respect.

"Ah, the Skipper. Good morning," Masako said, sounding relieved. Kuniko said nothing but dropped back a step.

"Don''t you start calling me that, too," said Yoshie, but she seemed secretly pleased with the name. Climbing off her bike, she fell in step with the other two. She was small but solidly built in a low-slung way that seemed ideally suited to physical labor. Yet her face was fine-featured and pale, floating up now almost seductively out of the darkness. It was perhaps this contradiction that made her seem unhappy, somehow unfortunate. "I suppose you''re walking together because of the fuss they''ve been making about that pervert," she said.

"That''s right," said Masako. "Kuniko''s still young enough to be in danger." Kuniko giggled. She was twenty-nine. Yoshie skirted a puddle that was glimmering in the dim light and turned to look at Masako.

"You''re still in the running yourself," she said. "You''re what, forty-three?"

"Don''t be silly," Masako said, suppressing a laugh. The compliment made her feel self-conscious in a way she rarely did anymore.

"Then you''re all dried up, are you? Cold and dry?" Yoshie''s tone was teasing, but it seemed to Masako that she''d hit the nail on the head. She did feel cold and dry, almost reptilian, as she slithered along now.

"But aren''t you a bit later than usual today?" she said, to change the subject.

"Oh, Granny''s been a little difficult." Yoshie frowned and fell silent. She was caring for her bedridden mother-in-law at home. Masako stared straight ahead, deciding to avoid any more questions. As they cleared the row of deserted buildings on the left, they came upon several of the white trucks that delivered the boxed lunches to convenience stores across the city, and beyond the trucks loomed the factory itself, shining dimly in the fluorescent light like a nightless city.

They waited while Yoshie went to park her bike in the racks next to the factory, and then climbed the green, Astroturf-covered stairs that led up the side of the building. The entrance was on the second floor. To the right was the office, and down the corridor was the workers'' rest area and the locker rooms. The factory itself was on the ground floor, so once they''d changed, they would make their way downstairs. Shoes had to be removed on the red synthetic carpet at the factory entrance. The fluorescent light washed out the color of the carpet, so that the hallway looked rather gloomy. The complexions of the women around her also seemed darkened, and as she looked at her weary companions, Masako wondered if she looked as bad herself. Komada, the tight-lipped company health inspector, was stationed in front of the cubbyholes where they stored their shoes, and as each woman walked by, she rubbed her back with a spool of sticky tape to remove any dust or dirt she might be bringing in.

They entered the large tatami-mat room that served as the employees'' lounge. Small groups of people were chatting here and there, having already changed into their white uniforms. They sipped tea or munched snacks as they waited for work to begin, while a few had found spots in the corner to lie down for a quick nap. Of the nearly one hundred workers on the night shift, about a third were Brazilian, and of these roughly half were men. And since it was the middle of the summer holidays, the number of student workers had increased somewhat; still, the great majority of the employees were part-timers, housewives in their forties or fifties.

The three women exchanged nods with friends as they made their way toward the changing room, but then they noticed Yayoi Yamamoto sitting alone in a corner. She looked up at them as they approached, but no smile came to her face and she remained slumped on the tatami.

"Morning," Masako said to her, and at last she smiled faintly for a moment. "You look exhausted." Yayoi nodded weakly and gave them a despondent look but still didn''t answer. Yayoi was the best-looking of the four women-in fact, she was the most attractive woman on the night shift. Her face was almost flawless, with a broad forehead and a nice balance between the eyes and the brow, an upturned nose and full lips. Her body, too, though petite, was perfect. Her looks were so conspicuous at the factory that a number of women had taken to bullying her, though others were nice to her. Masako had adopted the role of her protector, perhaps because the two of them were so different. While Masako herself did her best to live her life according to reason and common sense, Yayoi seemed to be dragging a good deal of emotional baggage through the world. Almost unconsciously, she held on to yesterday''s sorrows, playing the role of a pretty woman at the mercy of cluttered and volatile feelings.

"What''s up?" asked Yoshie, thumping her on the shoulder with a rough, red hand. "You look bad." Yayoi gave a violent start and Yoshie turned toward Masako, who signaled the other two to go on without her and sat down in front of Yayoi.

"Are you sick?" she asked.

"No, it''s nothing."

"Did you have another fight with your husband?"

"I''d be happier if he were still even willing to fight with me," she said glumly, her bleary eyes staring off at some point beyond Masako. Realizing they would have to start work soon, Masako began gathering her hair into a bun.

"What happened?" she said.

"I''ll tell you later," said Yayoi.

"Why not now?" Masako urged, glancing at the clock on the wall.

"No, later. It''s a long story." A look of rage appeared on Yayoi''s face for an instant, then vanished. Giving up the effort, Masako rose to go.

"Okay," she said. She hurried into the changing room to find her uniform. It was only nominally a room, with no more than a curtain separating it from the lounge. On the wall were crowded rows of sturdy hangers, like those at a department store sale. In the section for the daytime employees, the soiled white uniforms hung in tight clusters, while the space reserved for the night shift was bright with multicolored street clothes.

"We''ll see you down there," said Yoshie as she and Kuniko left the lounge. It was time to punch in. According to the rules, they had to punch the time clock between 11:45 and midnight and then wait downstairs at the entrance to the factory floor.

Masako pulled her hanger from the bar. It held a white gown with a zipper down the front and a pair of work pants with elastic at the waist. She quickly slipped the gown over her shoulders and, noting the position of the men in the room, pulled off her jeans, then stepped into the work pants. There was no separate changing room for the men, and though she''d been working here nearly two years she still couldn''t get used to the arrangement.

After slipping a black net over the hair she''d already gathered with a barrette, she covered her head with the paper hat they all wore, more like a shower cap than a real hat. Someone had nicknamed them "locusts" for their bug-like shape. She picked up a clear plastic apron and left the changing room, only to find Yayoi still sitting where she''d left her, as if she had nothing better to do.

"Hey! Better get a move on," she said, but when she saw how slow she was to get up, she was more worried than bothered. Almost all the other employees had already left the lounge; only a few Brazilian men still lingered on the tatami. They were leaning against the wall smoking, their thick legs thrown out in front of them.

"Morning," said one of them, raising a hand that was still wrapped around a cigarette butt. Masako nodded, giving him a thin smile. The name tag on his chest said "Kazuo Miyamori," but Masako couldn''t help thinking how foreign he looked, with his darkish skin, caved-in face, and protruding forehead. She imagined he did one of the more physical jobs, such as shuttling rice to the automated feeder. "Good morning," he said, this time to Yayoi, though she was too distracted to look at him. He seemed disappointed, but then this kind of thing happened often enough in this cold, unfriendly workplace.

They went into the toilet for a moment before donning their masks and aprons. Hands were rubbed raw with scrubbing brushes and then disinfected. They punched their time cards, stepped into the white work shoes, and were checked once more by the health inspector, who had taken up a new station by the stairs that led down to the plant. Once again Komada rubbed their backs with the tape roller while carefully inspecting their fingernails and hands.

"No cuts?" Even the smallest scratch on a finger meant you were ineligible for any job that involved touching food. Masako and Yayoi held up their hands for inspection. Yayoi seemed about to collapse as she stood waiting for the test to end.

"Are you all right?" Masako asked.

"Yes, I guess," said Yayoi.

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4.4 out of 54.4 out of 5
664 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

fra7299
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Weak, unsympathetic characters. Mostly a tedious read. No thanks.
Reviewed in the United States on April 24, 2020
So, I’m sure most readers are aware of the plot: a group of woman work a bleak existence at a factory. One of the woman in a moment of rage kills her husband during an argument, and then enlists her coworkers to get rid of the body (by any means necessary), and the... See more
So, I’m sure most readers are aware of the plot: a group of woman work a bleak existence at a factory. One of the woman in a moment of rage kills her husband during an argument, and then enlists her coworkers to get rid of the body (by any means necessary), and the subsequent plot follows the aftermath of this and these characters. The plot itself treks into all sorts of places, including involving an criminal investigation, the mob, the characters’ pasts, skeletons in the closet, etc. and gets a little convoluted as we follow all principle characters around.

I don’t think I’ve read a book in awhile that has left me feeling colder than Out. I suppose in a way that is the intention of the author; nonetheless, I found this book mostly a disappointment.

In my estimation, this book wasn’t either gritty nor was it tense. Gritty means characters have a certain appeal in some manner and are street smart in a way; here, the characters fell flat, are unsympathetic and seemed weak (maybe something was lost in translation). There was nothing a reader could latch onto. As far as tense, no, I don’t think that word works, as quite a bit of the story and plot is tedious, as we are handed subplot after subplot, many which seem to evaporate at some point.

I’m all for dark or bleak if it is handled the right way, but here it just seemed bizarre, clumsy and revolting. There were some weird sadistic overtones throughout the book from many of the principle characters. Case in point: (Yayoi, after killing her husband): “After all, she still felt a tinge of excitement when she recalled the sight of his lifeless body in the doorway.” Hmmm?

Many of the characters interactions are filled to the brim with arguing, violence, yelling over each other, drama, domestic problems, ad nauseum. Too much and it was quite repetitive. Too many weak characters, with shattered and broken lives on repeat making dumb decisions.

In sum, this is a book with unpleasant characters doing unpleasant things to attempt to escape their unpleasant lives (and doing mostly a poor job of it).

And then the ending...what?

The writing I did find to be a strength and I see the metaphor of the title of these characters trying to escape their lives to something better, but, at the end of the day, almost everything in this book left me cold and rubbed me the wrong way. When I read the last page, I was glad to be out of this experience.
6 people found this helpful
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Maverick
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Escape.
Reviewed in the United States on February 25, 2019
Out is intense. Like really intense. Parts of it made me nauseous with its unflinching look at its more gruesome aspects. Don''t be afraid to take breaks if you need it. But let''s talk about what this novel is about. It''s about four women and what they do to... See more
Out is intense. Like really intense. Parts of it made me nauseous with its unflinching look at its more gruesome aspects. Don''t be afraid to take breaks if you need it.

But let''s talk about what this novel is about. It''s about four women and what they do to escape from their tragic lives, whether its debt, abusive husbands, a past that lurks on the edges of our visions or perhaps loneliness. It explores sexism and how women are assessed based on their looks, but this because this novel is written from a Japanese author this novel takes a distinctly Japanese method of exploring its themes. The characters are sharply drawn, each with their own problems (and if there was any confusion its because the names are unfamiliar to my English pallete). They''re flawed but still sympathetic if not always likable. The theme of escape follows to the male characters as well, and it tackles everything until the bloody climax and its (happy?) ending.

Its similar to Widows, the Steve Mcqueen movie in that addresses four women and how they are taking power for their lives in opposition to the men in their lives. But this differs in structure and its political commentary.

This novel is a unique beast. Handle with caution.
5 people found this helpful
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David W Putnam
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great read
Reviewed in the United States on June 29, 2020
This book surprised me. I was not expecting to like--love it so much. It reminded me of A Simple Plan by Scott Smith (wish he''d write more books). It shows how unintended consequences can quickly spin out of control. A woman is put in an untenable situation, someone dies... See more
This book surprised me. I was not expecting to like--love it so much. It reminded me of A Simple Plan by Scott Smith (wish he''d write more books). It shows how unintended consequences can quickly spin out of control. A woman is put in an untenable situation, someone dies and she makes the best of a bad situation. It''s really quite creative. I highly recommend this book to those who like dark noir with strong female characters.
David Putnam author of the Bruno Johnson series.
6 people found this helpful
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RavenhillTop Contributor: Pets
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Gritty, insightful, fully inhabited by realistic female characters
Reviewed in the United States on October 8, 2017
I was really not able to put this down...had to force myself in order to get things done! This is my first reading of one of Kirino''s works. I could not be more impressed. She is in the "Tana French" zone! This is tight, taunt, and fast-paced,... See more
I was really not able to put this down...had to force myself in order to get things done!

This is my first reading of one of Kirino''s works. I could not be more impressed. She is in the "Tana French" zone!

This is tight, taunt, and fast-paced, and she controls it so well. She gives us the setting completely, gives us her characters carefully. We know them.

I''m impressed by a lack of the frills and glamour that often clutter up thrillers. Characters are mature, real, substantive. The women are WOMEN.

The real-world setting also educates gracefully about the sharp divide between male/female roles and wealth/poverty which transcends the setting of Japan and can speak to any reader, anywhere.

A must-read on many levels.
7 people found this helpful
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Ella Mc
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
4.5 - but for a crime novel, this is great
Reviewed in the United States on August 15, 2019
In terms of crime novels, murder mysteries, thrillers, etc - this is really stellar. I notice that Japanese mysteries and crime novels are simply written differently - they are expected, I''d imagine, to have a "real" story other than just a whodunnit. This book takes a... See more
In terms of crime novels, murder mysteries, thrillers, etc - this is really stellar. I notice that Japanese mysteries and crime novels are simply written differently - they are expected, I''d imagine, to have a "real" story other than just a whodunnit. This book takes a fairly simple concept and interweaves at least 6 people''s stories and still manages to do the crime genre proud. Intense themes of feminism, class, poverty, prejudice & racial stereotypes, hilariously funny fairly often for such a gruesome book, intensely deep at others, this story is great even if you know how it ends.
3 people found this helpful
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Nikita123
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great book club book! Read it!!!!
Reviewed in the United States on July 12, 2021
Usually I read a portion of the books before purchasing a book, but the synopsis alone was enough to convince me this was “the one.” This book is book club material. It is absolutely enthralling. It will keep you hooked as you delve through the mediocrity of having a menial... See more
Usually I read a portion of the books before purchasing a book, but the synopsis alone was enough to convince me this was “the one.” This book is book club material. It is absolutely enthralling. It will keep you hooked as you delve through the mediocrity of having a menial backbreaking night job and the utter and blatant disregard for women who after 30 seem to blend into the background like wallpaper. This book forces you to have polar opinions of the many characters it has who portray the story through their own view. This book seems to be carelessly written, but it is so perfectly interwoven together that you feel like you are watching a movie.
My friends and I fell in love with it!!! It is an absolute treasure!
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M.D. Kuehn
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Brutal and hard-edged... excellent!
Reviewed in the United States on June 12, 2015
Natsuo Kirino has written a crime-mystery novel, OUT, that''s about as brutal and hard-edged as anything I''ve ever read. Ms. Kirino takes her tale to the very edge, then unflinchingly goes over it. The story begins innocently enough as we meet four women who work... See more
Natsuo Kirino has written a crime-mystery novel, OUT, that''s about as brutal and hard-edged as anything I''ve ever read. Ms. Kirino takes her tale to the very edge, then unflinchingly goes over it.

The story begins innocently enough as we meet four women who work together on the night shift at the local boxed-lunch factory. The author gives us a look into the lives of each of them, and shows us the dynamic that exists among them as co-workers and friends. Masako Katori emerges as the strongest personality, and not unlike the others, has parts of her past she''d prefer to remain secret.

The pivotal event occurs when one of the friends, Yayoi Yamamoto, finally snaps at at the hands of her brutalizing husband and kills him. With the help of her friends, some reluctantly, they dispose of the body. Just how they do it, I won''t divulge here, but be prepared, for that and for all that follows. A harrowing thrill-ride into the dark depths of Japanese society. I''ll be looking for more from Ms. Kirino, probably her novel GROTESQUE next. Good read!
5 people found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A loveless life of some women in a trap.
Reviewed in the United States on February 17, 2021
Outstanding book with vivid details of the average lifestyle in small Japanese apartments. The pressures and expectations put upon women while they try to survive and hope for even the smallest joy in a loveless marriage and thankless job are explored. I hated for the... See more
Outstanding book with vivid details of the average lifestyle in small Japanese apartments. The pressures and expectations put upon women while they try to survive and hope for even the smallest joy in a loveless marriage and thankless job are explored.
I hated for the book to end as l wanted to keep reading much longer.
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Top reviews from other countries

hamptoncherry
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Very well written but ultimately sick story.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 14, 2019
I apologize for not liking this book. It is very well written, with coherent story and extremely well developed characters. It is macabre, but the genre requires this element. So what made me not like it? I got the uncomfortable feeling the author secretly approves and even...See more
I apologize for not liking this book. It is very well written, with coherent story and extremely well developed characters. It is macabre, but the genre requires this element. So what made me not like it? I got the uncomfortable feeling the author secretly approves and even admires the character who killed a woman in a most bloody and horrible way and then fell in love with her because they shared a "deeply intimate moment". Even brutal rape at the end where this person is perpetrator is somehow portrayed as an act of "uniting" two people, to the extend that the woman afterwords harbors something akin to romantic feelings to the criminal who attacked her. In my book this is simply sick. Add pretty graphic descriptions of dismemberment and you have a story which is guaranteed to make me disgusted. It may be a portrait of the Japanese social bottom but it doesn''t mean the actions described there are somehow justified. Ugly and dark, the story is as far from uplifting as can possibly be. You are welcome to read and judge yourself. I finished reading and deleted the book from my Kindle for good. Will not read anything else by this author.
7 people found this helpful
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Tom Ryan
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great noir - engrossing, but not pleasant
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 29, 2020
This is ‘noir’. It takes us to the darkest places of the human psyche and of society. It is engrossing, but definitely not pleasant. Living in London, I have the impression that Japanese women are elegant, sophisticated and well-mannered. They have their lives together and...See more
This is ‘noir’. It takes us to the darkest places of the human psyche and of society. It is engrossing, but definitely not pleasant. Living in London, I have the impression that Japanese women are elegant, sophisticated and well-mannered. They have their lives together and enjoy a relatively high standard of living. This book is not about such women, but rather about women surviving on the edge, economically and psychologically. It is set in 1990s Tokyo, in the harsh times that followed Japan’s economic boom and bubble of the 1980s – think austerity Britain of the past decade. We learn what we need to know about the characters and their context to understand their decisions, but no more: the emphasis is on the narrative rather than lots of description, so the story moves along quickly, accelerating as the book progresses. In recent years I have been reading the Italian noir of Massimo Carlotto and the Irish noir of Ken Bruen, which tend to be male-dominated. Written by a woman and with women as key protagonists in a less familiar social context, Out makes an interesting change. I really enjoyed the book, and have now started on another of Kirino’s novels (Grotesque).
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The Girl With the Plants and Books!
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A good premise but very dark!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 24, 2020
A beautiful cover with stunning end papers, this is a powerful book, but one that starts and indeed remains dark in subject matter throughout. A refreshing premise and a well-structured pace, this is certainly worth a read if your like your Japanese translations.
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P. Smith
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A good read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 20, 2019
First time having read a book from this author and it will not be the last. This book kept my interest all the way through. The characters with their personalities and interactions made the story feel believable. The translation was expertly done.
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Sailor_Moon
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
BEST. BOOK!!!!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 21, 2017
One of the best books I have ever read. What I love about this author is when she writes it''s all playing out in your head you see the characters, locations and how they think. It is the first crime book I''ve read and wow it''s awesome! Buy it now!!!! Like now now!!!
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