Real World
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Real World

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3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  3,213 ratings  ·  358 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
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.
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
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
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
Bar
I decided to get myself a library card, and this was the first book I chose to read. The cover drew me, and then when I saw it was set in Japan and written by a Japanese writer, I knew that I had to at least try. The summary made it clear that it wasn't going to be a simple book, but I was ready for the challenge. But I just never expected this book to break my hear, and change the way I see the world completely.

This book is divided to very few chapters, and each of them is told from the point...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
Lisa
Aug 06, 2011 Lisa rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nobody
Shelves: japan, mystery
Boy did this suck. I can't believe I read the whole thing. I guess I just kept thinking it had to get better or something was bound to happen to shake up the suck. It didn't. A teenage boy kills his mother, and then four very unlikeable teenage girls start following him and calling him relentlessly because they're fascinated by the fact that he's a murderer. No one seems to have any moral objection to any of it, and they're barely even worried about getting caught. It was bizarre and pointless a...more
Joanna
Ο μόνος λόγος που παίρνει και αυτό το ένα αστέρι είναι γιατί το good reads δεν με αφήνει να μην βάλω!!!
Αρχικά να πω ότι αν δεν είχα αυτή την διαστροφή να τελείωνω ένα βιβλίο όταν το ξεκινάω θα το είχα παρατήσει απο τα πρώτα κεφάλαια!!! Είναι απο τις λίγες,ευτυχώς, πολύ κακές αγορές βιβλίου που έχω κάνει!!!

Όταν το αγόρασα ήμουν διστακτική και γι'αυτό καθόταν κάνα χρόνο στο ράφι χωρίς να το έχω αγγίξει...απο τα πρώτα κεφάλαια φαινόταν μεγάλη "πατάτα" αλλά είπα να του δώσω μια ευκαιρία πριν το κ...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.

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
Sharon
dear world, I worte a review for this book.

yep, a review that's right. but for some reason that review was erased. and as i write my reviews on a whim, I cannot rewrite it again.

so I'll tell you what it was about- it was about being lost and lonely and have no one to talk to, it was about being hopeless. which is exactly what this book is all about. and That's the feeling you'll be left with once you read this book, with no hope.

my review (the dead one) came to the conclusion that most people...more
Karen Hansen
“Real World” is my third Natsuo Kirino novel and the first to fall flat. At first I thought that maybe it just wasn’t a very good translation, but after finishing the novel, I think it was more the overall plot and characters.

The story centers a boy who kills his mother and flees the scene of the crime. He steals the cell phone of a girl who is his neighbor and proceeds to call her and her friends. The story is really only concerned with two things, neither of which held my interest…1. Will the...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
James
This is my 3rd Kirino book,
I'd read Out and Grotesque a year or two ago.

Like the other two books, the author uses multiple "unreliable narrators" to tell the story, each person having her chance to tell it.

All but one of the main characters are teen girls,
more than acquaintances but not really friends.

They view each other with very critical eyes.

A clue about their mindset is the nickname give the boy in the story: Worm.

If amerika is a dog eat dog country, try living in japan!

The book is a...more
speciallyi
Kind of sad. The kind of sad when lives are wasted and you go, 'what for?'. I enjoyed Out better, and will be looking for Grotesque in the library.

"Something's that really irreparable is more like this: a horribly frightening feeling that keeps building up inside you forever until your heart is devoured. People who carry around the burden of something that can't be undone will one day be destroyed.

Are my ideas too complicated? I'm the kind of person who thinks about difficult things more than ot...more
Ioana
I did not enjoy reading this book at all, and found it difficult to finish. But, I'm rating it a 5/5 anyway: for its educational value, for the ways in which Kirino depicts brilliantly complex characters, for the surreal yet realistic portrayals of life in Tokyo, and simply for confusing me in ways that 99.9% of books cannot.

Basically, nothing in this book really made sense to me, reading it felt like entering a bizarre, alien parallel universe: not only did I not identify with the characters, b...more
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PNWJETAA Book Club: Real World 1 10 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.” 69 likes
“I'm this superphilosophical kind of person. Stuck in a prison of abstract ideas and overpowering emotions, I have this personality that makes it really hard to survive.” 24 likes
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