Real World
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Real World

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3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  2,860 ratings  ·  335 reviews
A stunning new work of the feminist noir that Natsuo Kirino defined and made her own in her novels Out and Grotesque.

In a crowded residential suburb on the outskirts of Tokyo, four teenage girls indifferently wade their way through a hot, smoggy summer and endless “cram school” sessions meant to ensure entry into good colleges. There’s Toshi, the dependable one; Terauchi,...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published July 15th 2008 by Knopf (first published 2003)
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Amy
Aug 09, 2008 Amy rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2008, asia
I gave up on this book. Real World follows the lives of one teen guy and 4-5 girl teens after the guy murders his mom. Perhaps it is the translation that is the problem. Maybe it is not the writing....I found the writing to be very unconvincing and awkward (I guess maybe that fits the teen POV). Kirino gives the reader too much. Each chapter is from a different teens perspective and it just goes on and on about how horrible their lives are (not saying I don't agree).
I think Kirino does capture t...more
William
Another mesmerizing masterpiece from Kirino. I thought going in that at just over 200 pages it might be somewhat unsatisfying but as it turned out, calling it "satisfying" would be an extreme understatement. Every page was wrapped in such intensity it was a thoroughly exhausting read (I mean that in the best possible way).
I was under the impression that her books that have been translated into English (this one plus Out and Grotesque) were the totality of her novels, but reading the book jacket...more
Yulia
A deceptively game-like excitement about news of a male neighbor's matricide leads four female friends into a surprisingly harsh look at the masks they've put on to maintain appearances, at our fascination with and empathy for those who are driven to do an unthinkable act, and at the meaning of life's struggle to be honest with ourselves and our closest friends and to accept the consequences of our actions. The boy's young neighbor doesn't want to get involved in the police investigation and pro...more
Nafiza
When I said that this book is intense, I might have understated a bit. Imagine, if you will, that you have stepped into the heads of four very different teenage girls and one, probably insane, teenage boy.

Kirino's Real World gives you a closer look at reality than you might have wanted to get. The books explores issues of blatant materialism, consumerism, how contemporary society seems to be fervently buying, selling, consuming and asks what the effect of this is on children. Society has turned...more
Tamara
It's easy to read, but I just didn't love it. I wasn't convinced that the characters' actions made sense. I liked Out way better, but there just may be something to her writing that doesn't seem real to me. I didn't get their teenage angst and it didn't make me understand their ridiculous actions.
Ed
Jul 31, 2008 Ed rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: kirino
There are at least two distinct “real” worlds described in “Real World”, Natsuo Kirino’s most recent novel to be published in the United States. There is the world of parents, teachers, police officers and other adults and there is the world of high school students being driven insane by the pressure exerted on them from the other world. The two worlds are almost but not completely discrete—when they come together it is a disaster for all concerned.

On one level the central action is the murder...more
Mariko
I thought Natsuo Kirino's Out was a pretty interesting book. It was very detailed and justifiably creepy. Her other two books that have been translated to English just seem like lame attempts at sensationalism and cheap thrills--the characters are not particularly realistic or interesting and the plotlines ludicrous. I didn't think the translation was all that great, either (though I don't really know how true the translation really was). It's like the translator is trying really hard to be edgy...more
Jennn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Monique
Was all set to rate this book a strong three stars but upon reviewing the points of the novel with my boyfriend I realized it had one amazing trait of a great novel and that is that is was unforgettable and made me think..for that it deserves the four stars and a commendation. After reading Out by this author I knew I wanted to read other books by her because as other reviewers commonly state her work is chilling, haunting and so tragically real. This book also centers on life in Japan where the...more
Caroline
Jul 19, 2008 Caroline rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Sarah
Natsuo Kirino does not deal with light-hearted issues. Like her other novels that have been published in English, this deals with very dark problems--a teenage boy murders his own mother. Four teenage girls, one of which is his neighbor, get wrapped up in the ensuing drama.

Something I've loved with each novel she's written is how vivid her description is of Japanese life. I've never felt like she does a half-hearted job at describing anything, no matter how dark or unpleasant it is, which really...more
Jessica
Sometimes wishes do come true. Or rather, sometimes serendipity happens. I'd been wanting to read this novel; I finished 'Grotesque' earlier in the summer, and had read 'Out' some summers ago. Coming back on a commuter plane from JFK I found a copy of this book in the pocket of my airplane seat. Left behind or intentionally forgotten? I dunno...but I consider it a gift. Just for me. Thank you Noelle from Arizona! (who left her ticket stub in the book as well).
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I liked the book though it's n...more
Erin
Grim and dark and probably not the best book to be reading if you're feeling a little down already.

However, even though this is a book in translation the use of language and story are amazing. I have read one other book by this author and as with that one, I will not easily forget this story. Each chapter is told first person voice, diary style, from one of the Japanese teenagers in the story. The author somehow manages to capture in print the tumult of thoughts and mercurial emotional shifts of...more
Gary
Real World by Nasuo Kirino
New York: Alfred A. Knopt - 2008
$23.95 (hardback), $9.99 (Kindle)


In Japan the school year begins in April and ends in March of the following year. It consists of three terms, separated by short vacations in the spring and winter, as well as a month-long summer break. Students attend elementary school for six years, middle school for three years and high school for three years.
- Preface, Real World

Things are not good in Tokyo. If we are to believe the grim details in cu...more
Caroline
Real World is a small book which creeps up on you. The story is in turns narrated by four teenage girls: Toshi who always wants to do the right thing, the intellectual Terauchi, Yuzan who is trying to overcome the grief after her mother passed away and who has to deal with her homosexuality and Kirarin who isn't a sweet innocent girl as she would like to let on. Toshi's neighbour gets killed and the teenage girl thinks she knows who did it: the woman's son, Worm. When Toshi's phone and bike are...more
Tfitoby
I'm conflicted. Look at the cover of this edition. It's amazingly effed up (self censorship for the win!) to the point where even the japanese characters can look like blood if you're not paying attention. It's cashing in on the trend towards Japanese terror in movies and it doesn't deliver. Not that I was expecting that from Kirino.

What I did get was a very well written piece of literature about a group of teenage girls who were never the same after that fateful summer (as the cliche goes) but...more
Mark David Gan

We live in a twisted new world...


This is the grim reality of adolescent life explored by feminist noir master Natsuo Kirino in her third English-translated novel Real World. Here she proves once more that she is an amazing writer, able to immerse herself in the teenage mindset and then speak out that mind with outstanding clarity and remarkable realism.


Like the report of a psychological case study, this book gives a shocking peek into the troubled minds of today's youths. The eight chapters are

...more
Joe Cummings
In the summer of 1992, I studied International business in Tokyo, Japan. Every school day, I would commute into the city on the train along with mostly businessmen, office girls and high school students who were attending cram school. After a while, the students on the train figured out that I was an approachable friendly sort of guy, and a few of the braver ones tried chatting with me to practice their English. I didn’t realize it at first, but as I talked with one or two of the students, their...more
Mircalla64 (free Liu Xiaobo)
noir giapponese for dummies


Toshi, Yūzan, Terauchi e Kirarin studiano per prepararsi all'esame di ammissione all'università.
Una mattina il vicino di casa di Toshi uccide sua madre e ruba la bcicletta e il telefonino della ragazza. In seguito tutte le sue amiche riceveranno una telefonata dal Vermiciattolo, soprannome col quale Toshi chiama il suo vicino. E lentamente le quattro si faranno trascinare nel mondo di un assassino, lasciando il proprio come fosse un vestito di cui ci si è stancati.

Nats...more
Molly
I asked for the book after reading the brilliant review for it in "The New York Times Book Review," but I cannot recommend it myself. It tells the story of a group of apathetic teenage girls who inexplicably rally around a boy who murders his mother. The point is, I believe, to comment on the apathy that haunts the process of growing up, and the way that such apathy can prompt outbreaks of seemingly senseless violence. The violence itself then becomes a way for teenagers (and others) to get into...more
Amanda
Wat een afschuwelijk naar boek. Niet zozeer om de personages of de schrijfstijl van het boek. Ook niet om andere dingen die ik maar middelmatig vond, zoals de opbouw van het verhaal en de perspectiefwisselingen. Ik denk dat hetgeen dat mij dwarszat gewoon het verhaal zelf was.

Dit boek voelt precies voor mij aan als The Virgin Suicides, alleen dan een Japanse uitvoering ervan… met een heel ander verhaal. Dat klinkt wellicht vaag, maar het wekte bij mij diezelfde gevoelens op tijdens het lezen waa...more
Chloe
I just could not stand these teens. I really dislike books in which it make it out that the new youth are amoral, unrelatable products of commercialism that have lost the ability to empathize. This exaggerated teen angst that is being passed off as a product of culture rather than the fact that these particular kids are just messed up, really annoys me.

I'll still try Out by this author, but I really didn't like this book's view on youth these days. Even though I admit I don't know the current st...more
Ametista
Come nelle precedenti opere anche qui la Kirino ripete una struttura costituita da quattro personaggi che fungono da pilastri narrativi.
Si alternano i capitoli in cui emergono le studentesse con i propri differenti profili psicologici:
Toshi è la ragazza più diligente del gruppo; Yuzan dopo la perdita della madre rivela un carattere mascolino, ma ben cela alle amiche la sua natura sessuale; Terauchi ostenta un carattere forte ma sotto il guscio vi è una grande fragilità; Kirarin invece è attratta...more
Ab
Jul 30, 2008 Ab rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: older youths
For a book that got such an interesting review in this month's New York Times Book Review, it was very disappointingly one-dimensional and boring. The story follows about 4 girls and a guy, Worm, each with chapters from their respective points of view. But these characters are teens and very underdeveloped and just flat.

I tried reading "Out" by Kirino several months ago but didn't finish b/c it wasn't my thing. But this book seems more of an easy-read-young-adult novel if anything.
Abby
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alodia H.
This book is about four teenage girls who somehow (will not give much of spoiler here) managed to meet a boy who has murdered his own mother and was trying to run away from the cops. Each girl takes their own part in the boy's escape, which leads to the discovery of themselves, their own problems and how they deal with it.

Well I think the story itself is not very complex, for people who love dark books so much like me this can even be considered as a 'light' reading and it's definitely the reas...more
Umi
Di musim panas yang terik, terjadi peristiwa pembunuhan seorang wanita di pinggiran kota Tokyo. Tersangka utamanya adalah anak laki-laki si korban yang duduk di kelas 3 di sebuah SMA elit. 4 orang gadis remaja saling terkait dengan proses kaburnya sang anak laki-laki yang mereka juluki Worm, karena badannya yang tinggi dan agak bungkuk. Toshiko Yamanaka atau suka menggunakan nama samaran Ninna Hori tetangga sebelah rumah yang pertama bertemu Worm setelah membunuh ibunya. Setelah itu sepeda dan p...more
Caroline
Disappointing. I've enjoyed Natsuo Kirino in the past and imagined 'Real World' would pack a punch. Teenage outsiders, matricide, ramen noodles, c'mon! But I was bored. Shallow characters, dull plot. Maybe not enough ramen.

D
I am of two minds about this book: on one hand I liked some of the characters well enough to want to know what happens to them (I was kinda hoping Terauchi/Ninna Hori was going to happen, but I can still think it happened in subtext), on the other societal pressures on Japanese teenagers who finally break drown has been done before. This novel hasn't shown me anything new.

At the risk of sounding like another jaded teenager: I've been there and I've done that. Terauchi is the one I can sympathis...more
Elizabeth Moffat
I loved Natsuo Kirino's first book Out, but was slightly disappointed by this offering. Interesting concept for a story though and I would definitely check out any of her future works.
Giang
An unusual crime-thriller book that deals with the psychology of various characters involved. The plot is simple, straight forward, no twists and surprises. But the excitement comes from how Kirino explores the darkness and the vulnerability of the seemingly typical youth of Japan.

Worm seems at first a creepy, dangerous, psychotic and completely insane killer but turns out he was just under so much oppression and stress coming from the control-freak mother. Toshi, a girl that appears happy-go-lu...more
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PNWJETAA Book Club: Real World 1 8 Aug 12, 2012 10:54PM  
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NATSUO KIRINO, born in 1951 in Kanazawa (Ishikawa Prefecture) was an active and spirited child brought up between her two brothers, one being six years older and the other five years younger than her. Kirino's father, being an architect, took the family to many cities, and Kirino spent her youth in Sendai, Sapporo, and finally settled in Tokyo when she was fourteen, which is where she has been res...more
More about Natsuo Kirino...
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“It wasn't so much that I was afraid of the place itself, but I was afraid of the creatures who masqueraded as people.” 57 likes
“Bye-bye. I'm off on a journey to the real world. 'Cause within this meta-reality what's real is this - my death.” 22 likes
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