Out was awarded the Grand Prix of the Mystery Writers of Japan in 1997-the Asian equivalent of an Edgar. It is a dynamic example of the work of a new breed of Asian women writers excelling in the smart, hard-nosed, well-written, and realistically plotted mystery novel. Natsuo Kirino's crime story can stand comparison with the work of other top-notch Western women writers in this genre, like Sarah Paretsky and Ruth Rendell. The story-though a bare summary makes it seem merely brutal and bloodthirsty, when it is much more than that- focuses on four women who work together in a lunch-box factory in the suburbs of Tokyo. One of them suffers from spouse abuse and, unable to take it any longer, murders her husband and appeals to her co-workers to help her dispose of the corpse. One of these friends--- the brain behind the coverup-after cutting up the body in the bathroom of her house, has the other two dump it as garbage. The money from the man's life insurance is then divided among them. But this is only the beginning. The successful, unpremeditated crime and the rewards it brings are the seed of other, premeditated schemes, escalating from one localized use of violence to a rash of similar deeds, with unpredictable outcomes for the women behind them.
As a study in the psychology of domestic repression and the dynamics of violent crime, Out works on several levels, gripping the reader from its smoldering beginning to the fireburst of its finale. In hardcover in its original language it sold over 300,000 copies, and a movie version will have its premiere in Tokyo at the end of 2002, with international distribution under discussion.
This book was recommended to me by a good friend, she gave it 5/5.
Dark, gritty and at times downright brutal this book that you by force. It shows how the lives of four women are affected after the act of murder by one of them. I don’t think this book is for the faint hearted as the writing is quite graphic at times.
I have to admit this book did take me a long time to read, it is not a quick and easy read. Even though I did enjoy it I was pleased to get to the end. The plot is complex and at times I must admit I did struggle with some of the names. Three of them were very similar! I think because of this I bonded with certain characters because they stood out more. Even though certain gruesome things had been committed by characters you really felt quite sympathetic to their situations and couldn’t help championing them. I think this book gave just the right amount of background about some characters that it gave you more of an insight into their actions.
I would like to read more books by this author, it has made me want to learn more about the Japanese culture and also the about the families that have emigrated there.
Cover: 4/5 - This cover is quite eye catching. I do love the colour scheme, the details pop out. I think you can tell with certain books from the cover what they are about. The knife certainly gives away the fact that it is a dark and thrilling book.
Rating: 4/5 – Just missed the mark for me. . As much as I liked this book I rate it a high 4/5, there were just a few niggles here and there that stopped it from getting 5/5.