Dec 11, 10
Read from November 28 to December 04, 2010
Natsuo Kirino's REAL WORLD follow four high school girls in modern Japan who are discontent with their lives. Their run-in with a boy who has killed his mother leads each one to change the course of their lives in a different way. Kirino uses these interactions as a way of illuminating the personality and history of each of these characters.
Her portrayal of High School characters is impressive; it manages to get the egocentric and naive personalities so right; most authors put either adults or children in teenage bodies. Unfortunately, the book is short enough that spreading the psychologizing out over five characters spreads it a bit thin, and what could have been a masterful exploration ends up missing a bit.
But the characters that she does spend a lot of time on are excellent. The plot will grab you as you watch a spoiled mother-killer descend into shock and almost madness before realizing what he has done; as you shout, "No, no!" at the risk-seeking girl who follows him. This book is controversial, which makes it all the more important that it has been done so well.