Out Hardcover – Aug 12 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Four women who work the night shift in a Tokyo factory that produces boxed lunches find their lives twisted beyond repair in this grimly compelling crime novel, which won Japan's top mystery award, the Grand Prix, for its already heralded author, now making her first appearance in English. Despite the female bonding, this dark, violent novel is more evocative of Gogol or Dostoyevsky than Thelma and Louise. When Yayoi, the youngest and prettiest of the women, strangles her philandering gambler husband with his own belt in an explosion of rage, she turns instinctively for help to her co-worker Masako, an older and wiser woman whose own family life has fallen apart in less dramatic fashion. To help her cut up and get rid of the dead body, Masako recruits Yoshie and Kuniko, two fellow factory workers caught up in other kinds of domestic traps. In Snyder's smoothly unobtrusive translation, all of Kirino's characters are touching and believable. And even when the action stretches to include a slick loan shark from Masako's previous life and a pathetically lost and lonely man of mixed Japanese and Brazilian parentage, the gritty realism of everyday existence in the underbelly of Japan's consumer society comes across with pungent force. FYI: This novel has been made into a Japanese motion picture.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A suburban Tokyo woman fed up with her loutish husband kills him in a fit of anger, then confesses her crime to a coworker on the night shift at the boxed-lunch factory. The coworker enlists the help of two other women at the factory to dismember and dispose of the body. Readers beware--Kirino's first mystery to be published in English (it was a best-seller in Japan) involves no madcap female bonding. The tenuous friendship between the four women, all with problems of their own even before becoming accessories to murder, begins to unravel almost immediately. Money changes hands. The body parts are discovered. The police begin asking questions, and a very bad man falsely accused of the crime is determined to find out who really deserves the punishment. The gritty neighborhoods, factories, and warehouses of Tokyo provide a perfect backdrop for this bleak tale of women who are victims of circumstance and intent on self-preservation at all costs. Carrie Bissey
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
Excellent writing, it's part mystery part suspense thriller, part crime drama. The story is about 4 women who band together and take on the situation they have created for themselves. At times it can be a bit preachy and a bit hating on males but that could just be because I'm a male.
I love this book and it's way of encapsulating you into the story and lives of these characters. They feel real, feel varied, and each decision feels logical. Logical in the sense that someone in that position could very well have made that decision.
buy it, read it, then read it again. It will be worth your time.
Yoshie is the most likeable of the four friends. She is nicknamed the Skipper since she is so hard-working and effectively runs the line the women work on. Yoshie's husband died from cirrhosis, leaving her to look after her family and mother-in-law - who'd suffered a stroke more than six years previously. She's finding it difficult to make ends meet : the insurance from her husband's death, and her own savings, have been spent - largely on looking after her mother-in-law. She is desperate for her daughter to receive a good education. Meanwhile, her landlord is talking about tearing down her dilapidated house, hoping to build a modern apartment block. Yoshie knows this will involve higher rents.
Kuniko is a different matter entirely. Vain and self-absorbed, she is a thoroughly dislikeable character. She lies about her age, drives an expensive, imported car and spends beyond her means on clothes. She had claimed to be married to her live-in boyfriend : sensibly, he blows town early in the book and carefully covers his tracks. Due to the money she spends on her image, she owes a fortune to a loan-shark.
At 34, Yayoi is the youngest and prettiest of the four friends. Kenji, her husband, had once pursued her relentlessly. However, once married, things changed dramatically. Kenji started spending more time away from home, drinking and gambling.Read more ›
OUT is one of those novels that without the award nomination (the Edgar Award for best novel), would never be brought to the attention of the mystery community in the US. The combination of the small press putting out a very very long translated book is often a formula for disaster. It is a tribute to the Edgar committee that they discovered this gem and gave it the recognition it so deserves.
OUT is the story of four women living in the Tokyo suburbs. What they have in common is that they all work the nightshift in a food packaging plant. All have very different but highly troubled lives. Masako Katori, separated from her husband and living with an alienated and troubled son is lonely and bored. Kuniko Jonouchi is in major trouble with loan sharks in that she insists on living well above her means. Yoshie Azuma, a widow stuck into the role of caretaker of an invalid mother-in-law has two troubled daughters and Yayoi Yamamoto living with two small children and saddled with an abusive husband who gambles away what precious little they have. All their lives get overturned when, in a fit of rage, Yayoi strangles her husband and asks Masako to dispose of the body. She agrees and with the help of the others, they must do all they can to avoid suspicion falling on themselves. This proves highly difficult when the loan sharks haunting Kuniko find out the truth.
Natsuo Kirino has written one of the most original works of the year. It is character rich with a plot so clever that in spite of the length, the pacing moves relatively rapidly. This is not a perfect work, however. Too much minutiae tends to get in the way of the story progression. Black humor takes over and might remind some readers of the tale of SWEENEY TODD. A major problem with this otherwise carefully written work is the suboptimal conclusion which is the most unrealistic part of the book and proves to be highly unsatisfying.
Most recent customer reviews
If you love suspense, detective novels, and a mix of horror this is a great novel and it also provides powerful insights on the role of women in Japan. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Paul Cairoli
Following the new trend of S & M, this novel explore the absolutely lowest underbelly of the human experience. It was a horrible read. Read morePublished on Nov. 5 2013 by janet sullivan
The condition was better than expected and everything is in order. Fast delivery also.
Then book is an amazing read and I would recommend it to anyone who likes thrillers!
Out is vivid and tense from beginning to end. Curious and surprising even though aware of the form. One of the best.Published on Jan. 6 2012 by Pithy
The book is well-translated but the story is predictably boring.
It's so obvious to me that the author is just trying to shock the readers by writing something unusually... Read more
No need for me to give the short summary of the book again, others have done a great job doing that for me. Read morePublished on April 9 2004 by johndoe2412
The story behind OUT is almost as interesting as the novel itself. OUT is the debut novel of Natsuo Kirino; published in 1998 in Japan, and garnering not only awards but also... Read morePublished on Jan. 30 2004 by Amazon Customer
The book was a gift, selected for me because it was an award winning mystgery in Japan and a Staff Pick at our local bookstore. Read morePublished on Jan. 5 2004 by Susan Kibler