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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutal Thriller - Excellently crafted!!
This is the 3rd novel by Kirino that I have read. The first being 'Out' which is one of the best books that I have ever read, the story is not for the faint hearted & moves at a fast & interesting pace. 'Grotesque' was the 2nd, completely different from 'Out' but still just as dark & disturbing, and a more challenging read!!

'Real World' - I received my copy on...
Published on 13 Aug 2008 by R. Cains

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Death by worm
Like many others, I admired Grotesque and Out. In particular I loved the way in which Kirino was able to combine both the day to day realities of her characters' lives with the violent world with which they became entangled. In Real World a group of female protagonists are again caught up in a violent murder. The difference is that these women are 16 year old high school...
Published on 8 Nov 2008 by b


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Death by worm, 8 Nov 2008
This review is from: Real World (Paperback)
Like many others, I admired Grotesque and Out. In particular I loved the way in which Kirino was able to combine both the day to day realities of her characters' lives with the violent world with which they became entangled. In Real World a group of female protagonists are again caught up in a violent murder. The difference is that these women are 16 year old high school students and the murderer is a neighbour who has killed his own mother. Kirino again explains the action from the perspective of her five main characters, but the effect is not as satisfying as it is in Grotesque.
I feel that the characters are not sufficiently differentiated; in spite of superficial differences, they all seem to share a common view of the world and the change of narrators seems to slow down the action.
Having said that the ending is intriguing, the shift in focus really works to show how different people view the same event and some of the atmospheric writing is detailed and absorbing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Who's world?, 17 Aug 2009
By 
Esmor (Ynys Mon, Wales) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Real World (Paperback)
I have given up on this novel - something that I rarely do. 'Out' was marvellous, the second book whose name I forget, took a great deal of ploughing through. I had high hopes for 'Real World', but once again the characters are so unsympathetic and contrived that I have no interest in what happens to them. Whilst some would consider this the work of genius, I find it adolescent and shallow, and will need to be desperate for reading material before I pick this novel up to finish it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutal Thriller - Excellently crafted!!, 13 Aug 2008
By 
R. Cains "Urban Addict" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Real World (Hardcover)
This is the 3rd novel by Kirino that I have read. The first being 'Out' which is one of the best books that I have ever read, the story is not for the faint hearted & moves at a fast & interesting pace. 'Grotesque' was the 2nd, completely different from 'Out' but still just as dark & disturbing, and a more challenging read!!

'Real World' - I received my copy on Monday & finished reading last night - This book is superb, the only downfall is how short the book is, I wanted it to last for much longer as with all of Kirinos books, this is a brutal tale of how murder & friendship can corrupt the human mind. Kirino is an expert at creating a seedy & scary environment for her characters to blossom in. Kirino always seems to focus on the lives of the main characters rather than the horrific crimes themselves, You may think this seems a little boring, but trust me when I say, it is anything but!! The story is told from a teenagers prospective, & reads like a tennagers private diary. You get to hear a little from all of the main characters & their individual trials & tribulations....Extremely interesting & cleverly written!!

The climax is both chilling & violent and will leave you thinking about the situations long after you close the book.

Just to add, as with the above reviewer, My copy of Real World seems unfinished also, the pages are very roughly cut, although this does detract from what lingers within the cover....Go buy this book now!!

If you are a fan of brutal thrillers that seem real, you will not be dissapointed....I wait with baited breath for the next release from Kirino.....I hope it doesn't take as long as this one did!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as good as kirinos other translations, 29 Jan 2009
By 
Sally Wilton "Sally" (Bournemouth UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Real World (Paperback)
I absolutely loved Out and Grotesque and although Real World captures many of the Japanese dark thriller style of the other 2 books it doesnt quite grip the imagination as much as the others. I acutally lost my 1st copy of Grotesque and had to buy a 2nd one to finish the story - that was how gripped I was. With real world I dont think I could be so bothered. A good story line always written in a bitter form with hatred seething from the print like the other books. Kirino is a great psychologist and really understands teenage angst.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cold and unrepenting., 21 Aug 2008
By 
Adriana Paun - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Real World (Hardcover)
Real World is a slap in the face, sending the reader back to his or her teenage years when being anti-social was the norm, when adults looked like strange, absurd creatures and no one, not even your friends, could understand you. The novel begins with Toshiko, a girl whose next door neighbor kills his mother for seemingly no reason, and whose bike and cellphone are stolen by this same killer. What begins then is a strange relationship between the killer, Worm, Toshiko and her three best friends. There's Kirarin, cute and bubbly but with a secret life no one knows. Yuzan, grieving her dead mother and trying to come to terms with her sexuality, and Terauchi, the smart, philosophical one. In an attempt to help shelter Worm from the police, they are thrust into a limelight that threatens to expose them to each other and to the world at large. It's not an easy read, but then Natsuo Kirino has made a name for herself by writing difficult narratives and complex, sometimes un-likable characters. Real World is no exception to the rule.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars dip your toe in a different world, 2 Jun 2009
By 
Patricia Waddy (Alkmaar, the Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Real World (Paperback)
Having read "Out" I'd try any of Natsuo Kirino's books. Personally, I couldn't get through "Grotesque", but "Real World" is excellent. It's a kind of story I've never read before, weird yet believable, nasty yet fascinating, exciting yet sad. "Real World" is a good title because that is what the characters in the book are playing in and around. There are some mistakes in the translation which I feel a good editor could have sifted out, but they do not detract from this good read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A measurement of progress..., 10 Oct 2008
By 
bloodsimple (nottingham, uk) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Real World (Paperback)
I was a huge fan of Kirino's previous release Grotesque - the best book of 2007 by some distance. So I eagerly awaited the next novel. While Real World is the new release, it was actually written before Grotesque. This, and a change in translator since Grotesque, might lie at the heart of this book's problems.

Kirino has melded two of her favourite subjects from other novels - a brutal murder, and the strange world of Japanese teenager-dom. However, in this novel the plot is fairly linear, and lacks the weaving of other sub-plots with the skill shown in Grotesque. In addition, as other reviewers have noted, the language and dialogue is stilted, and simply comes across as false. Given the skill Kirino showed in her other novels, it is hard to think the fault lies with the author.

While the book has some good moments, it lacks the depth or subtlety of other works. I think that maybe this was an early novel; and therefore you only see glimpses of what was to come from Kirino. If so, it is interesting to see the huge progress she made in just four years of writing - from this middling effort, to utter brilliance. That alone makes it worth a look if you are a Kirino fan, but on its' own merits, it is hard to recommend unconditionally.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Real and very dark, 7 Sep 2008
By 
J. R. Daniell "Avid Reader" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Real World (Paperback)
Have loved all N.Kirino's novels so far, and this one is no exception.
It could be described as dark and desturbing, however I think it really gets into the mind of the main characters. The main characters being 1 guy who is believed to have killed his mother and 4 young woman who each have a different view on the guy and what he has done.
It makes for very good reading and as I read through it I could not guess how it would end. So be warned there are some surprises.
I would recommend this to anyone who likes dark stories, it will get you thinking.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A novella weakened by its translation, 30 May 2014
By 
Dr R (Norwich, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Real World (Paperback)
This is the author’s 16th book by Natsuo Kirino but only the third, after ‘Out’ and ‘Grotesque’, to be translated into English, by Philip Gabriel, of whom more later. Kirino, real name, Mariko Hashioka, started her career as a romantic novelist but in the early 1990s turned to noir crime writing and to exploring the psychological depths of her characters. This is a much shorter book than either of the two earlier translations, at 208 pages it is really a novella. However, several factors make it a difficult and rather unsatisfying read.

Firstly, its subject – four teenage girlfriends from the same school, Yuzan [real name Kiyomi Kaibara], having difficulties in ‘coming out’ as a lesbian, Kirarin [Kirari Higashiyama], sexually promiscuous and able to fit in with any group of people, Terauchi [Kazuko Terauchi], who has the greatest intellect but feels herself ‘above human relationships’, and Ninna Hori [Toshi, Toshiko Yamanaka], who is fearful of standing out and uses her karaoke nickname to ‘keep myself together’. The book is narrated by these four girls and by Worm, so called by Toshi, who lives next door, because he was ‘lanky, stoop-shouldered with small, gloomy eyes’ which reminds her of a worm.

When Worm batters his mother and goes on the run the four girls decide to help him evade capture, a response dictated their disaffection with society and the pressures exerted by their parents and adults, all of whom are peripheral to this youth-centred book. The five maintain contact through mobile phones although Worm seems to be able to cycle around the Tokyo suburbs and enter convenience stores without any danger of being caught. Unfortunately, I found it difficult to distinguish between the four girls, despite the author’s selecting their personal characters to be very different. As a result, the six chapters that they narrate did not offer distinctly differing perspectives on Worm and their activities in support of him. This was surprising given that the girls were all highly critical of a society and school system that promoted conformity rather than individuality.

Secondly, the translation is very American: ‘dude’, ‘cram school’, junior high, sophomore, cell phone, hooking up with guys, Mom, jerk, gotten, we’d better split, what’d ya mean and so on. I do not know whether this is how contemporary Japanese youth, as opposed to American youth, speaks but, if so, then I should imagine that there would also be some expletives, the worst that I could find was Worm calling his mother an ‘old bag’. An expletive or two would certainly be justified by the events described in the penultimate chapter. I found the translation increasingly intruding between me and the author.

On the positive side, the novella shows a group of teenagers full of self-pity, intensely self-absorbed and alienated when they find that society does not share this opinion of their superior position. The chapters show the girls confessing to activities and character traits that they believe are secret but, of course, this is far from the case. Very early on Toshi decides that she will not cooperate with the police, a decision entirely consistent with her alienation. However, the police are very unconvincing and do not question her seriously even though they have good reason to believe that she is keeping something back.

Worm, who increasingly comes to dominate the story, did not seem to be a strong enough character to mesmerise the girls by his initial action. The conversations between the girls and with Worm, both face-to-face and over the telephone, were rather repetitive and, to my ear, unconvincing. I did not feel that I knew the five youngsters any better by the end of the novel that I did at its beginning.

On the final page Toshi decides to give up her karaoke name but this seemed to be a rather weak ending to what had gone before.
I am not the right gender or demographic to get the most out of Kirino’s writing so please take this into account when considering these comments. Since other translators have been involved in Kirino’s two other books in English I will read them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 14 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Real World (Paperback)
Great book, full of intrigue and suspense circling around the innocence of being a child. Very good book thoroughly enjoyed
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Real World
Real World by Natsuo Kirino (Paperback - 4 Sep 2008)
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