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Out, Natsuo Kirino,
This review is from: Out (Paperback)
I have said that the best crime fiction is not coming from Britain or America but from Europe. While the basic truth of that sentence remains, I might have to change it: the best crime fiction is not coming from Britain or America but from almost anywhere else.
Natuso Kirino's "Out" won prizes in its native Japan, and was also shortlisted for America's prestigious Edgar Award, making her the first Japanese author ever to up for the award. She didn't win (Ian Rankin's Resurrection Men did), but she easily could have. This is a super book; a harrowing and cloying read that has a whiff of Ruth Rendell about it (it's odd and yet telling how the best crime fiction from anywhere in the world is compared to Rendell's considerable yardstick). It's the story of four women who work the Night Shift at a boxed-lunch factory in Tokyo. Eventually, under pressure from an overbearing and abuse husband, one snaps and kills him. She turns to her co-workers for help disposing of the body. Thus they're drawn into a dark work of death and violence. The police come to suspect a wealthy local businessman, and that suspicion ruins him. From that point on, he wants revenge on the real killers, and becomes increasingly convinced he knows just who they are...
This is probably set to be one of the crime novels of the year. It's superbly written, and, to use that old comparison again, the psychological insight Kirino shows toward her characters is distinctly of the Rendell quality. It's probably not an easy book to read, but it's certainly a rewarding and very tense one. In the best traditions of Eastern art (film, books, etc) it is originally and ever-so-slightly twisted. Despite it's length - which makes it a meaty read - it's paced quickly as the plot moves so effectively, shifts along smoothly. It's a deceptively clever book, too, as well as serving as a great window onto a certain section of Japanese society. It could almost be classed as feminist in its progressive portrayal of women in a society that generally views them with eyes very different to those of the Western world.
To people who like cheap thrills, this may not satisfy, as it's rather too full of detail, fascinating though it is. But to people who like complex, challenging and dark crime fiction (a la Mo Hayder, possibly), Out receives a hearty recommendation from me.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 May 2008 13:38:39 BDT
Graham A. Hirst says:
Apologies for my pedantry but Britain is in Europe.
As you were. :-)
In reply to an earlier post on 18 May 2008 14:57:17 BDT
Yeah, but most Brits I know (including me) don't think of ourselves as such, which is why when I met a couple of Americans in my European Literature seminar and they said that all Americans think of us as Europe, we were surprised. It just doesn't really come into British national identity.
In reply to an earlier post on 12 Jun 2008 14:13:51 BDT
I know, shame that. Perhaps if we did think of ourselves as European & learnt a few lessons from other Europeans then this country wouldn't be in such a poor state.
In reply to an earlier post on 26 Mar 2010 10:17:33 GMT
It's a shame the book is utterly boring
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