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Out [Paperback]

Natsuo Kirino
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

2 Sep 2004

In the Tokyo suburbs four women work the draining graveyard shift at a boxed-lunch factory. Burdened with chores and heavy debts and isolated from husbands and children, they all secretly dream of a way out of their dead-end lives.

A young mother among them finally cracks and strangles her philandering, gambling husband then confesses her crime to Masako, the closest of her colleagues. For reasons of her own, Masako agrees to assist her friend and seeks the help of the other co-workers to dismember and dispose of the body. The body parts are discovered, the police start asking questions, but the women have far more dangerous enemies -a yakuza connected loan shark who discovers their secret and has a business proposition, and a ruthless nightclub owner the police are convinced is guilty of the murder. He has lost everything as a result of their crime and he is out for revenge.

OUT is a psychologically taut and unflinching foray into the darkest recesses of the human soul, an unsettling reminder that the desperate desire for freedom can make the most ordinary person do the unimaginable.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (2 Sep 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099472287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099472285
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 72,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"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)

"OUT is a potent cocktail of urban blight, perverse feminism and vigilante justice" (New York Times Book Review)

"A shockingly intense read" (Daily Telegraph)

"Brings the mystery thriller to new levels of intensity and realism - OUT has great plot twists, vigour and an ending that would make Hannibal Lecter smile" (Library Journal)

"In this top-drawer page-turner, Kirino offers a clever snapshot of her own culture...slyly amusing and compulsive" (Metro)

Book Description

A masterpiece of genre from the queen of Japanese crime.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By nimone
Everything about the setting of Natsuo Kirino's new novel Out is bleak. Set in Japan with four disillusioned and desperate women as the anti-heroines who work the graveyard shift in a boxed-lunch factory, there is little in the story that inspires hope or confidence. Each of the four has problems that threaten the life she has created for herself, and each life sits precariously on the edge of a precipice. When one of them snaps and murders her abusive and neglectful husband, she leans a little too far over the edge and by asking the others to help her dispose of the body, pulls them over with her.
In the ensuing downward spiral of all the women they are joined by the man the police suspect for the murder, a wealthy but disturbed casino mogul, and a loan-shark with yakuza connections who discovers their secret. The novel's themes of murder, extortion, blackmail, rape and dismemberment create an absolute mess for the characters to find their way out of, and in the process they learn far more about themselves than they are comfortable with, especially their capacity for doing the undesirable.
Although there is no real suspense or a twisting plot, this dark mystery makes for compelling reading. Its main difference from and appeal over other crime novels is that it's told primarily from the point of view of the culprits rather than the victims or detectives. The characters, with all their personal demons and failings, are described without judgement or attachment in a cold, factual tone which adds nothing to warm the novel, but is surprisingly effective. Their actions inspire a mixture of sympathy and contempt, all the while making you wonder exactly how you would react in their situation.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Four women, co-workers on the night shift at a box lunch factory on the outskirts of Tokyo, form an unlikely friendship based on their mutual desperation -a dissatisfaction with their inattentive, unresponsive husbands and disaffected children, strained economic situations and emotional isolation. When Yayoi Yamamoto, a young wife and mother kills her abusive, philandering spouse, the four come together voluntarily to perform a most grisly act. They dismember the body to facilitate disposal. Although of disparate ages and characters, the women become quite bound to one another through an increasing web of conspiracy, self-interest and suspicion. A series of indiscretions and careless mistakes expose them all to unforeseeable dangers.
"Out" is so much more than a psychological thriller or a formulaic crime novel. This is fiction that surpasses genre. Although plot driven, much of the story is dependent on character development and change. The characters are portrayed so vividly, even the minor ones, that the reader cannot help but form a strong attachment to them. It really does not matter, ultimately, if the connection is positive or not - one still looks forward to following the various personages forward to their individual destinies. Masako Katori, shrewd and extremely intelligent, is the definite leader among the women and an absolutely fascinating figure. Although she has perfected a cold, detached veneer with which she presents herself to the world, inside she is despondent and in turmoil. Increasingly alone and alienated from her husband and teenage son, she longs for "freedom." "It had started with something in her. Her hopelessness and a longing for freedom had brought her to this point." Masako is looking for a way "out" of her claustrophobic life.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is scary reading! 9 Aug 2007
An amazing read. I'm not usually keen on award winners, approaching them with trepidation as I usually find them stilted and well basically, boring. I will defintely be looking out for more by this author!

Set in the suberbs of Tokyo there are four women who work the night shifts at a boxed-lunch factory. All four have different reasons for needing to be there - money, only job available, to be alone; although the one thing they have in common is a need to escape (primarily from their own lives). This is the first meaning of the title 'Out'.

One of the women kills her husband, for a variety of reasons and amazingly Masako offers to help her. There is no reason for her to help, but she does. They actually dismember and dispose of him. Meanwhile we are introduced to a nightclub owner (Satake) who the police believe has committed the murder.

The story centres eventually around these two characters, who for me are the two appearing on the dust jacket. We follow their lives - every part of it, from their dreams, fears to their daily routines and more especially their enemies.

If you felt disturbed by reading 'American Psycho' then this may carry the same or worse feelings. It's cold from the outset. Initially this took me by surprise but then I realised it could be to reflect the genre or be traditional of this writing style. The characters are so convincingly described and the narrative is so powerful. It really is a chilling read. It is violent, disturbing and will seep into you when you least expect it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous Edge of the Seat Thriller
This is a highly absorbing and tense crime thriller. Four disgruntled Japanese women work the night-shift at a factory in Tokyo producing boxed lunches. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Bill Mason
5.0 out of 5 stars read it
a great story line well written it veres from mundane everyday life working on the factory line to dismembering horror,imteresting that the main characters are women. Read more
Published 2 months ago by m. dosa
3.0 out of 5 stars Book club choice
This was chosen by someone in our book club to read. Overall not a bad read. I found it very Japanese (not surprising really :-) ) may come as a bit of a culture shock to some. Read more
Published 7 months ago by BigDog
5.0 out of 5 stars Liberating
Not since Patricia Highsmith 's The talented Mr. Ripley have I enjoyed the psychological examination of real and accidental criminality . Have read this book three times now. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Ray49
5.0 out of 5 stars A very dark story.
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but it is very well written and shows the power of friendship and the lengths people go, but has some very shocking moments.
Published 8 months ago by A Morrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read in a long time!
Although the book is a bit slow at the start, it is definitely worth hanging in there for! This book is so tense I was holding my breath to see what would happen next. Read more
Published 9 months ago by jenklk2
4.0 out of 5 stars Bleak and bloody, but gripping
This is first of Natsuo Kirino's crime novels to be published in English, in a very authentic translation by Stephen Snyder. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Dr R
4.0 out of 5 stars It was like watching a crime TV series
The first chapter was a little slow, but after this it flows - I just kept reading and reading and forgot it was a big book. It gives you sensations and shivers. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Wei-Ju Chen
3.0 out of 5 stars "The elevator moaned like the wind as it came to meet her."
Building to a riveting climax, this book makes its way quite slowly at first. Along the way we get quite a disturbing idea of how the Japanese mind works. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Eileen Shaw
3.0 out of 5 stars Riveting at times but definitely not for everyone
Having just finished this book, I'm still trying to find a way to digest the ending.

I'm an avid reader and a fast one at that, however it took me an unusually long time... Read more
Published 12 months ago by penpusher
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