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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 15 May 2008
Well i am now just 50 pages from the end of this book, Its addictive that is for sure. If you are the sort of person that constantly asks why we suffer abuse in our daily lives, why we put up with the tedious endless days of darkness without the hope of anyone to shine a light on our mundane and soul destroying lives, If you are someone that yearns for a crack in the wall if only just to push against it to make it bigger then this is for you... The book is as cold as its cover - these characters are the products of years of exposure the degredation of many different lifestyles and experiences - YET - all the characters are different, very different and thats whats so satisfying form the first. Despite the sterile endless bland backdrop of the story - the factory the housing estates and small minded neighbours - you spend you time thinking what on earth makes these people tick...you wind up bizarrely wondering , maybe i should do that too, step over the line, or maybe by reading the book you aleady have in a way..its a dangerous book - you sympathise with the victims and masochistically want to expereince the brief excitment, fear, loathing and/or pleasure they do before they are snuffed out of existence. You look at your meat differently when you prepare it in the evenings for cooking wondering what you would do if faced with a torso to dispose of .. it goes over the edge - hook like and sinker and you go with it.. its an endless spiral into depravity and chaos and there is no way out...the yearning to be part of , to do or to be the victim off extreme sexualised violence is disturbing and it stays deep in your thoughts as a constancy...if you like feeling the knife edge just a breath away then this book will take you there. Strangly compelling is a need to understand the author - this is not a book written from research or even from expereince of abuse (but i am sure that helps to write this sort of stuff!) - she has written this from desire and that passion hateful and spiteful and destructive that it is , hammeorages form every single page....Outstanding work of the darkest arts..
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VINE VOICEon 13 January 2005
This is a superb modern feminist take on the repressed wife, emotional damage and the desperation it can drive you to (whether you are male or female) and on the fact that a true friend you can trust is a rare thing indeed. It is a story that has moments of great humour as well as great saddness and it is clever and affecting. The story is not so much a who-dunnit as this is clear even from the blurb on the book. Its more a will-they-get-away-with-it? type of story. And it works very well. For the time you read it you will live and breathe these women's desperate and depressing lives and you will root for them to escape and find salvation.
As the one negative review so far proves, selecting fiction is simple if you know your own likes and dislikes. Don't buy this if you are squemish, have no understanding of Japanese culture (or wish to understand it) and are not able to cope with books in which peolple don't conform to comfortable soap opera stereotypes. But you knew all that didn't you?
This book, like any other, is a product of the culture from whence it came. It's a Japanese book and as such is, by typical western standards, extreme in its depiction of violence. It is also a masterclass in understatement. You need to understand the pressures of duty, the importance of maintaining a stoic appearance and the matter-of-factness of aspects of Japanese culture. this book is interesting because of the subtext that is there if you bother to see it. And most startling of all is the way in which the main character does, through an act of horrific brutality become free and liberated. the ending is equally sickening and beautifully moving. I shed a tear for both the characters locked in the gruesome finale, which surprised me no end but was a tribute to this writers amazing ability to make you understand and sympathise with unconventional points of view and characters who still deserve their chance at emotional redemption, no matter how flawed they might be.
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on 9 February 2009
I am not a big reader, and I'm not into thrillers, but this book is brilliant.
It's about a group of friends that group together to cover a murder, and how they, as people, change and their friendship falls apart. It also brings the most unwanted attention of a very creepy, and dangerous man that becomes obsessed with getting revenge on them.

The characters are all really interesting, and the sexual themes of violence give a real excitement to the story.
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on 30 August 2014
This is one of those books that when you finish it, you need to take a moment to process what you just experienced. It's bleak, powerful and often brutal but without doubt thought provoking and fascinating. It is as much a crime novel and psychological thriller as it is an analysis of Japanese culture, touching on everything from the divide between the rich and poor to the treatment of women.

I'm not usually a big fan of stories that shift focus between several viewpoints but I found myself really caring about the characters and routing for the four anti-heroines. The character development was fantastic and it was great to learn all about the motivations and struggles of each of them as more and more lives became entwined in the plot. Kirino's writing style is brilliantly engaging (the translation was excellently done) and I will definitely be checking out more of her books.
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on 29 September 2010
Although at first sight it appears to just be a somewhat grisly Japanese crime thriller, Out ends up posing some surprisingly weighty questions. It follows the story of four women who work together as a team on the night-shift preparing packed lunches; all very ordinary folk but all with various family problems. One has an abusive husband and one day she fights back, killing him. The others help her dispose of the body and slowly but inexorably get sucked deeper into the darker elements of society.

Although initially the plot carries you along while reading it, what you end up remembering when you put the book down are the journeys that all the characters take. And you end up asking yourself how you would react in similar circumstances. Just how slippery is the slope into the underworld? What would it take to make an ordinary, nice person (like me) become a monster?
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Don't read the blurb. It gives away the whole plot, and that is a shame.

The novel is a tour de force, following the fate of four co-workers at a boxed lunch factory in Japan as they deal with the aftermath of the accidental [!] murder of a husband.

The book is long, so wouldn't suit those looking for a quick read. The length, though, is used to outline complex characters who are neither all good nor all bad. They each have their own histories and motives. They have their own detailed lives, and together it paints a convincing picture of life on the breadline in modern Japan.

The plot motors along with appropriate twists and turns. I won't give it away, but if you want details, look at the blurb! Importantly for me, the plot always remains credible. The coincidences are not too great, and the reactions and developments are very human. Others may disagree, of course. The pacing is beautifully measured too, building up and spinning out of control as the end nears.

Overall, it is one of the best reads I have had all year. I couldn't put it down and was sorry it was only 520 pages.

If you like detailed, tense thrillers that deal with ordinary people rather than masked villains, then give this a try.
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on 9 November 2008
Im reading Out at the moment, i have been dragged in by the characters.
It maintains great narrative twists and power, i really like the style..Superb
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on 19 September 2011
I read this book just by chance, as I found it in my job. And I think it was a very lucky chance. I was addicted to the original story and characters. I just could not put it down. It has quite a cold and distant feeling to death and killing, but many of the aspects that keep me reading japanese novels. I found myself attracted to Kirino`s narrative and intrigued as to how it would finish. It was one of the best reads in a long time and after finished, I could not stop thinking about it, I couldnt let go of the main character and how real all this unbelievable story seemed. The best of Kirino (in english) so far.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 4 February 2013
I had never read any Japanese fiction before but the synopsis appealed to my dark and twisted side and I decided to give this book a whirl. I was not disappointed. The characters are complex and well written and the story is amazing, brutal and dark. I have since also read Grotesque by the same author, which is an equally squalid, scary affair. I will certainly read more from this author in the future. Why only four stars? I found it a little hard to read in places, this could be the translation or just me being not the brightest of sparks. Still highly recommended.
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on 3 October 2004
What can I say ?
A powerful, disturbing book, which makes you think about what motivates anyone to do the unthinkable.
As a visitor to Toyko this brought back the atsmosphere of the city - not that I have indulged in their activities!
I have already raved about this to everyone I know & purchased copies for presents.
Read it, recommend it & don't give away the ending.
Fingers crossed, her other books shall be translated.
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