Great book! Gritty, dark, urbane. Four co-workers are bound together by murder and money. Twists abound in this crime novel. Some social commentary regarding the lives of middle-class women in modern day Japan. Warning: very descriptive, and not only for the initial murder and clean up.
This is one of those books that keeps you so engaged that it is possible to lose track of time while reading it, definately a page turner and one of my best reads of the year. Four women who work the graveyard shift at the lunch box factory try to protect one of their group after the death of her husband, leading them on an adventure outside their realm. Grief and greed play a hand in the out come of this unlikely story. Well worth it's weight.
Out presents a distinct twist on the usual crime novel. First of all, its descriptions of urban blight in the neighborhoods of Tokyo and the bleak lives led by the women who live there are haunting and portrayed in a way that allowed me to identify with the characters even though I have never visited Japan and don't know much about its culture. I came to genuinely care about the characters, even though they are not particularly lovable and, in fact, do some clearly evil things.
This was a good book about 4 Japanese coworkers that were bound together because of a crime that was committed by one of the women within the group. The author managed to give the readers a sense of the type of life one can live in Japan. She touched on some of the despair, and poverty, and also the trials and tribulations women can go through. I enjoyed this book, it had enough tangled webs that I kept turning the page, waiting patiently for them to be unwoven. I was not happy with the ending, but it still wouldn't stop me from recommending it.
One of the creepiest, most gruesome books I've read all year, and also one of the best.
This was an excellent book. A dark, gruesome, eerie read. Loved it.
This is a dynamite, flat out awesome read. A lot of the films and literature coming out of Japan lately is amazing. This book is no exception. It is truly brilliant and stays with you.
If you like to read while you eat, don't. Not that this book is gory and gross, but the few descriptive scenes are interspersed within the tale and unexpectedly pop up. A real "horror" story, the depths that humans will go to in order to maintain a facade. I highly recommend this story.
A fascinating story of four women working the night shift filling bento boxes (box lunches) in Japan. One strangles her husband, panics, and calls for help from one of her co-workers. And therein lies a tale. A story of women helping women, consequences of becoming involved in other people's troubles, and opportunities that arise from such help. A great read. Need not know anything about Japan as it is a universal story (as all good stories are). Highly recommend.
This was a stark, creepy novel populated by characters living unfulfilled lives. If it were a movie, it would be in black and white. It plumbs the depths of despair and tells us just how far people might go to alleviate despair. It was chilling, to say the least--and i thought it was great!
I have nothing but praise for Natsuo Kirino's first novel translated into English. Out delivered just about everything I want in a novel -- an engaging plot about how 4 female assembly line workers at a boxed lunch factory help one of them cover up a crime of passion, psychological insight in a bunch of fleshed-out characters (male and female), all wrapped around social commentary about the state of gender relations and modern life in Japan. I can see how you might not like this book if you are squeamish about corpses or put off by people filled with disdain and frustration, or simply looking for a murder mystery. But if you are okay with gore--physical and psychological--you'll enjoy this book which makes you think and react.
Engrossing, character-rich thriller. Recommend for regular thriller readers and also those who tend to read more literary fiction. Suspenseful story as well as a complex examination of women in Japanese society.
I really enjoyed how these women came together in lieu of this heinous crime. Additionally, the lead character was compelling as the person who tried to keep it together. There were some characters that were unnecessary to see the perspective from but that did not detract from the story. Some of the characters were utterly despicable but I must applaud the author for the masterful craft in making me, the reader, hate some of these characters so much. Solid read.
I liked this book a lot but it was very dark so I'm not sure I can give it 4 stars. It's a story of an abused wife who murders her husband and gets help from her coworkers to dispose of the body. The story goes on from there and leads into subjects of gambling and borrowing money from loansharks. It is a very good read and kind of surprising in that the author is Japanese and this book is a far cry from what one normally thinks of Japanese culture - there is a lot more to it than on the surface!
This was a real page turner! I adore novels that allow for a glimpse into the gritty side of Japanese culture.
Desperate times call for Desperate measures...When in a bind what would you do, who can you rely on? You think you may know someone, but how well do you know them? All of the seven deadly sins are examined here. Great read!
I'd very much recommend this book to fans of Koushun Takami's Battle Royale. Although the stories are very different, there's a similarity of style, and a similar theme of the exploration of the possibility of underlying violence in the psyche of the average citizen of Japan.
In 'Out' we are introduced to a group of Japanese women who are part-time night workers at a factory. They're all poor and each is dealing with a collection of personal and family problems. But when one, in an unprecedented revolt, strikes back against her abusive husband and strangles him to death, they are all brought into a plot to cover up the crime. For a while, it seems like they have been successful - the murder is pinned on a local casino owner and pimp. But when the casino owner is released for lack of evidence, his career ruined by the media revelation that he was formerly a gang member who brutally raped and murdered a woman - he is out for revenge. The women are in more trouble than when they were in fear of the law.
Excellent characterization and character interaction, and a tensely drawn plot. Good crime novel.
One of the best novels I've read in the last year. Expertly crafted characters created truly believable nuance in the friendships and tension between female leads in this dark blue collar Japanese thriller. I am eagerly awaiting my next Kirino read.
First time Japanese author. One of the most riveting, shocking stories I've read in awhile. I would not advise eating while reading this book. Tells the story of 4 factory workers who get involved in a gruesome circumstance from the viewpoint of the strongest of the four.
Natsuo Kirino takes the reader into the world of the lower class Japanese woman. The three protagonists are all factory workers. They care for families and each other is a strange and at times gut wrentching story. This is not the easiest book to read, but the Kirino makes you care about her characters. You will never get such a tour of this part of Japan again.
I read Kirino's GROTESQUE a year or two ago and enjoyed its look at life in Japan from the point of view of how life treated several young women from a prestigious high school. In OUT, Kirino focuses on four women who are struggling to make ends meet by working the night shift at a boxed-lunch factory. All of the women have their crosses to bear and are burdened with debt and bad family lives. One of the women, Yayoi, has an abusive husband who beats her and who spends his time gambling and chasing after a younger woman employed at an escort club. Yayoi can't take it anymore and strangles her husband in a fit of rage. But what about the body? She contacts one of her coworkers from the factory, Masako, who agrees to help get rid of the body. Masako in turn gets the help of two other women to dismember and dispose of the body so it will not be found or identified. But one of the women is careless and leaves body parts in a park which leads to their discovery and ultimate identification. The night club and casino owner where Yayoi's husband frequented is charged with the crime but will it stick? And then a loan shark also finds out what really happened. All of this leaves the women in jeopardy.
This was really quite a disturbing noir novel that really kept my interest. The consequences of the women's actions become more and more dire as the novel progresses. The dialog in the novel which was translated from the Japanese was somewhat like watching or reading Manga or anime but the overall story was very creative. I also enjoyed the descriptions of life in Japan including the factory the women worked in and the routine of daily life. The novel to me was a bit far-fetched. One thing I was perplexed about was why the police seemed to give up on the case even though one of the detectives seemed to have puzzled out the solution to what had really happened. Overall though a very compelling crime novel with a very different locale.
The New York Times loved it. I didn't, but maybe you will!
A dark and complicated story about female friendship and desperation.
Dark and disturbing but realistic, this novel is about a murder in Japan that is impacted by the culture. A pretty young woman who has two boys realizes when her husband beats her that her marriage has fallen apart. He has gambled away the savings they had accumulated for a home of their own, quit his job, goes out night after night, drinks and seeks the favors of a beautiful hostess in one of the gambling establishments.
Driven beyond normal control she removes the belt from her waist and chokes her husband to teach him a lesson. Unfortunatly, she goes too far and he dies. In panic, she calls a coworker friend who promises to help her dispose of the body. The woman works with the others in the young woman's work group to cut up the body and move parts to different areas.
Interestingly, the husband had had a fight that night with a nightclub owner whose past includes a sadistic murder of a woman. The owner's intent was to warn him away from the hostess and to pay his gambling debts. The detectives who investigate the crime decide that the owner is the culprit but have difficulty finding proof. Publicity ruins the reputation and businesses of the owner who vows revenge on whoever killed the man. His strategy is complex and with care he discovers that the wife and three of her coworkers are responsible. The dark drama continues to unfold to a surprising ending.
Well written, the book is deserving of Japan's Grand Prix for Crime Fiction and was a finalist for the Edgar Award. However, this dark novel may put some readers off. Sometimes though life is too cruel to be believed.
DNF....a little too graphic for my taste.
For some reason, I could not get into this book at all and never finished it. The plot is strong and it's very well written, but it didn't stick.
* * Â½* The book seems disjointed. It starts out as a psychological thriller dealing with the effects of a murder/disposal. Then the thriller becomes the backstory and a revenge plot takes frontstage. Riveting at times, slow and redundant at others.