Out by Natsuo Kirino
A Novel


10 Critic Reviews

Kirino paints a vivid picture of the women's grinding, hand-to-mouth existence in the underbelly of Japan's ravening consumer culture.
-Star Tribune


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. Kirino' 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.

About Natsuo Kirino

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NATSUO KIRINO was born in Japan in 1951. Her career as a writer began with comics and pulp fiction, but as soon as her serious mystery novels started to appear, they attracted a huge readership. These by now have won her all the top mystery awards in her country, and two have been turned into full-scale movies. OUT is her first to appear in English.
Published January 1, 2000 by BOOKET. 360 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Business & Economics, Crime. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Out
All: 10 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 2


Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on May 10 2010

Dramatic as the plot is, however, it’s the penetration of Kirino’s insight into her characters and their capacity to keep surprising each other that linger longest in this grimly satisfying tale.

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Above average
Reviewed by Stephen Poole on Nov 26 2004

Out is a strange novel indeed: slow, relentless, banal and gleefully grisly, to the point that it can rather strain credulity. I would like to call the sadomasochistic dénouement between Masako and Satake preposterous, but must bow to the privileged viewpoint of the author's sex.

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Star Tribune

Reviewed by Erin Hart on Aug 03 2008

Kirino paints a vivid picture of the women's grinding, hand-to-mouth existence in the underbelly of Japan's ravening consumer culture.

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Book Reporter

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on Jul 10 2008

Kirino, as is the case with the best of mystery writers, combines a strong plot with a canny description of contemporary Japanese mores and culture to make this an unforgettable work.

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AV Club

Reviewed by Donna Bowman on Feb 22 2008

Stephen Snyder's translation veers between utilitarian prose and funhouse-mirror emotional narrative, all delivered with a slightly distant sadness that gives Out a sense of postmodern remove.

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Entertainment Weekly

Reviewed by Lori L. Tharps on Aug 27 2008

As much a character study of disaffected housewives as a knuckle-clenching thriller. Warning: The squeamish shouldn't check this ''Out.''

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Asian Review of Books

Reviewed by Paul French on Sep 04 2008

This is crime fiction without any heroes, dashing and wise cracking private eyes or even a decent copper. It’s about people who make decisions, take action and have to live with the consequences.

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Reviewed by Zena Alkayat on Sep 28 2008

For those with a penchant for the unsettling, this novel has it in spades but Kirino never loses sight of her purpose and Out is as much a stark expose of the trials of working-class women as it is a grisly crime horror.

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Reviewed by Bookslut on Mar 01 2008

Kirino is adept at anticipating the domino effect in her writing and she puts it to good use in Out; never does she resort to hackneyed devices, unbelievable coincidences or any of the other hobgoblins that camp out round the fire of . . . mystery.

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Gather Books

Below average
Reviewed by NLD on Jun 15 2010

Out is an interesting novel, to say the least, but some readers may find its tone and content hard to take for 359 pages. It has certainly given me a view of Japan that I had not considered before, an impression that will haunt me for a good while.

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