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3.94  ·  Rating details ·  29,442 ratings  ·  2,761 reviews
Natsuo Kirino's novel tells a story of random violence in the staid Tokyo suburbs, as a young mother who works a night shift making boxed lunches brutally strangles her deadbeat husband and then seeks the help of her co-workers to dispose of the body and cover up her crime.

The ringleader of this cover-up, Masako Katori, emerges as the emotional heart of Out and as one of t
Paperback, 400 pages
Published January 4th 2005 by Vintage (first published July 15th 1997)
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Ashley There was supposed to be an Americanization version of it, but it never went forward (from what I can tell). It was to be called "Out" and would be pr…moreThere was supposed to be an Americanization version of it, but it never went forward (from what I can tell). It was to be called "Out" and would be produced by Hideo Nakata. It's not listed on his IMDB ( and this article here ( is from 2004. I don't see anything after this, however - not in English or Japanese.(less)
Mon Yes. And non-sexual graphic violence as well

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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  29,442 ratings  ·  2,761 reviews

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Jim Fonseca
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Let’s start with a few descriptors from the blurbs on the cover: nervy, perverse, dark, gruesome, depressing, daring, disturbing, brutal, unsentimental, scathing, gutsy, hair-raising. You get the picture.

After all that build-up it seems like a come-down to say that this is basically a story about four thirtyish, lower-class or lower-middle class Japanese women who work night-shift filling box-lunches in a factory. With the increasingly common globalized life-style, their lives and families are
David Putnam
Nov 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book surprised me. I was not expecting to like--love it so much. It reminded me of A Simple Plan by Scott Smith (wish he'd write more books). It shows how unintended consequences can quickly spin out of control. A woman is put in an untenable situation, someone dies and she makes the best of a bad situation. It's really quite creative. I highly recommend this book to those who like dark noir with strong female characters.
David Putnam author of the Bruno Johnson series.
The night air trembles with a malevolent intensity. Something hangs heavy in the humid breeze - the stomach-churning smell of deep fried tempura prawns sealed inside boxed lunches mingled with something putrid, perhaps the stench of rotting dismembered human limbs hidden away in trash cans. The insufferable July heat accelerates decomposition, causes beads of sweat to cling to Masako's neck persistently as she waits in the taut darkness of the deserted parking lot for 3 of her colleagues - women ...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
There's just something about Japan that produces the grittiest, darkest, scariest, most realistic horror, psychological thriller, and suspense. The seedy underbelly of Japanese society is perhaps so successfully portrayed because so little has been embellished. And with the dark, empty surburban streets, so much is possible, so much can go unnoticed. In Natsuo Kirino's wonderful crime novel, Out, a sharp social commentary on Japan's patriarchal society and the situation for women and foreigners ...more
Jan 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
What a disappointing ending! At first, I was absolutely entralled by the characters and their various relationships. The first 3/4ths of the book are filled with so much texture - it felt like I was running my hands through a fabric store. Most intriguing are the female-female relationships ranging from trust to need to fear. How I hated Kuniko! How I rooted for Masako!

And then, this whole S&M dark and violent erotic stuff comes out, which threw the entire book in downward-spiral away from nuanc
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Women have it tough, all over the world, but now I know they have it tough in Japan, too.

If this book is to be believed, Japanese women are surrounded by chauvinistic, sadistic a-holes, cruelly remote ghosts, or losers who spend all their money with a nasty smirk. Or they are jerks-in-the-making, sullen teenagers who can go a year without saying a single word to their mothers, conveying hate through their angry eyes. At best, they're cowardly, bumbling, social pariahs... or dead.

Also, these po
Edward Lorn
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of noir and crime fiction.
Recommended to Edward by: Bark | Ladies Of Horror Fiction
Reviewing good books has always been difficult for me. Not because I don't know what to say, but because I don't want to say too much. Part of the wonder of reading, for me, is discovery, and I want you to be able to discover this book for yourselves.

Predictable books are the worst, and for the most part I do not read synopses. I decide what to read based on friend reviews/recommendations and, yes, the absolutely risky business of buying media based on pretty packaging. I dug the cover of this
Ahmad Sharabiani
アウト = Out, Natsuo Kirino

The novel tells the tales of four women, working the graveyard shift at a Japanese bento factory. All four women live hard lives. Masako, the leader of the four women, feels completely alienated from her estranged husband and teenage son.

Kuniko, a plump and rather vain girl, has recently been ditched by her boyfriend after the couple were driven into debt, leaving Kuniko to fend off a loan shark. Yoshie is a single mother and reluctant caretaker of her mother-in-law, who
Jul 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Yulia by: Frank Bogues
A literary page-turner as timely as when it first came out, this biting critique of Japan's social and economic underclass begins when three female co-workers are forced to confront the act of a friend against her abusive husband, but evolves into a blistering exposé on those whose stories are never told: the unseen night-shift factory workers who make Japan's endless supply of box lunches; women who are swamped in credit-card debt but cannot live off their looks, youth, or father's paychecks as ...more
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Out is so gritty and grotesque, so violent, that I was revolted many times, but there is such truth amidst grim reality here, especially in how women are treated in society. I noticed that one of the other reviewers wrote about how this reminded him of the 1950s in the US, but wage suppression and inequality is still going in good old 2018 in the US.
Women in Japan, where the book is set, are supposed to do all the housework, their outside job, and take care of all the members of the household,
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
You know how sometimes you answer a phone call, and suddenly . . . your life is changed forever.

"What's up? Are you taking the night off?"
"No, I just don't know what to do."
"About what?" She sounded genuinely concerned. "Has something happened?"
"It has." She might as well get it over with. "I've killed him."

Three Tokyo factory workers get sucked into the proverbial web of lies and deceit when they help a fellow employee dispose of the body of her murdered husband. The author goes into a disturb
‘Out’ revolves around four ordinary women working the night shift at a boxed lunch factory whose life changes drastically after a violent incident. One of the women, Yayoi is sick of her useless husband and impulsively strangles him to death. Not wanting the incident to come to light, she seeks help from her friend Masako to get rid of the body. However, it ends up with the four women being part of the cover-up and the repercussions they face due to their entanglement in the deadly world of crim ...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020

‘You know,’ she murmured, ‘we’re all heading straight to hell.’
‘Yes,’ said Masako, giving her a bleak look. ‘It’s like riding downhill with no brakes.’
‘You mean, there’s no way to stop?’
‘No, you stop all right – when you crash.’

Four women working on the graveyard shift in a food packaging factory in a decrepit suburb of the metropolis. Four tales of despair and loneliness in a world that seems determined to crush the last shreds of their spirit. It’s only a matter of time before one of them sn
Joce (squibblesreads)
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
good god this is creepy. so so interesting but not a perfect book. after more though, i’m going to give it 4 stars :)
tw: rape, assault, violence
May 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
I keep hesitating between 1 and 2 stars... I'm going to be generous and say "it was ok" and it was entertaining enough that I kept reading till the end.
This is just my opinion, but I found "Out" to be poorly written and poorly constructed. Most characters and their reactions weren't credible at all, and the story completely lack of suspense or tension. It was more laughable than gripping.
Not my kind of book at all.
Meagan ✊🏼 Blacklivesmatter ✊🏼Blacktranslivesmatter
That ending 👀👀 was weird but interesting. Overall great story! Not at all what I was expecting. I think the story ended up being a great connection to the title.

Popsugar 2020 Reading Challenge
A book set in Japan, the host of 2020 Olympics
A book set in a city that has hosted the olympics
(Tokyo, Japan in 1964).
A slow moving tale of misogyny and loneliness, that in the end disappointed me
I read this novel 13 years ago and now dropped it two stars down due to the uneven, rather repulsive ending and the slow moving pace of this "thriller". The story doesn't warrant 500 pages.

“You know," she murmured, "we're all heading straight to hell."
"Yes," said Masako, giving her a bleak look. "It's like riding downhill with no brakes."
"You mean, there's no way to stop?"
"No, you stop all right - when you crash.”

Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror-dark
Out was a solid 4 star read for me. The book centers around a group of women that work together in a factory-one kills her husband and the others assist her in getting rid of his body. Out was a complex story that is well-written; the only part that was disappointing was the ending (way too graphic for my liking). Recommended to mature/adult readers.
Feb 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Can you say - gruesome and violent? Holy cow! The book blurb tells you - a woman kills her husband and then asks her coworkers for help after the fact. I felt like I got to know the stories of the wife and her coworkers well enough. There is also a concurrent set of characters related to what the deceased husband was up to before his wife had had enough. I also felt their stories were were well told. Sometimes the story felt a bit slow to me but not in a slogging kind of way, just slow. It's har ...more
Nov 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
part social commentary, part sadomasochistic entertainment. all amazing.
Jun 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who like FREAKY stuff
Shelves: japanese-authors
This book is full of amazingly WRONG situations and I thought it was amazing.


I may have thought it was amazing because I have lived in Japan for nearly three years and I felt like I could identify with the characters. I picked up on cultural subtleties that made me laugh and made me cringe. I rolled my eyes at Japanese women being Japanese women in the book and I cheered when they broke free from that mould - even though breaking free meant that they were ostracized from society and th
Bark  |  Ladies Of Horror Fiction
This is a great book about a group of late shift female co-workers at a boxed lunch factory. It is extremely effective in portraying the desperation in their day to day lives and shows how even the most gruesome of deeds can become just another yucky job if the pay is good enough. It's so violent that, at times, it's almost funny and still very sad and frighteningly realistic as well. This was one of those impossible to put down books but it isn't for the faint of heart as it gets quite grisly. ...more
Hertzan Chimera
Feb 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Masako Katori; Kuniko Jonouchi; Yoshie Azuma; Yayoi Yamamoto; who are these normal people? Well, they all work the night shift at the local boxed-lunch factory. From midnight until 6 a.m. every 'day' they prepare these meals for the office workers and commuters of downtown Tokyo. It's not much of a life but they work well as a team and they always snatch the best part of the conveyor belt; the easiest jobs, if you will.

These four unassuming women are the heroines of Natsuo Kirino's novel OUT, wi
Dec 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, asian, murder
Out by Natsuo Kirino is a brilliant Japanese murder mystery that’s not much of a mystery at all, at least not a mystery in the sense that we don’t know whodunit. Whodunit is a pretty, young wife and mother of two named Yayoi who is fed up with her husband Kenji’s philandering ways, and decides to strangle him one night in an uncharacteristic moment of rage. Assured that her children heard nothing of the struggle, she calls a friend who works the night shift with her at a boxed lunch factory. As ...more
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Gregsamsa by: Samadrita
Isn't it weird how some sensations can be intensified by the presence of another, different, sensation? You know, like when you have to pee and you're also really cold?

So many horror writers are bad horror writers because they pack everything onto the back of one horse, horror, and run it to the end. Once a horrific event is reduced to print, it's not the same as horror, so needs more. For me the horrific in itself is rarely enough.

Folks might reasonably quibble over whether Out is a horror nove
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
When I caught the words “hard-boiled” on this book’s back cover before reading it, can’t lie: I was less than enthused. During my embarrassingly long mystery-novel obsession, I’ve pinpointed my favorite kind quite precisely – cerebral social comedies, preferably written by British women between 1915 and ~1965, with levels of gore not to exceed your occasional poisoned crumpet.

Out is not that. Out is not even on the same planet as that, and yet it grabbed me by the shoulders and shook, hard, unt
Jul 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: japão, ficção, horror
A battered woman murders her husband. Three of her work friends help her dispose of the body, forming a sort of makeshift "girl"-gang of 30-to-60-year-olds. As they try to deal with the police, loansharks and other complications, they each discover a darker side to themselves than they knew before.

Honestly this could have been such a good book. It could have been a sort of "vengeance thriller" of women who have been humiliated and ignored all their lives just because they were women, taking
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 21st-centurylit
I cannot for the life of me put my finger on what it is about this book that rubs me slightly the wrong way. It could be as simple as I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as other readers have, but I think there's more to it. And it's probably a combination of things - the fact that the relationship between the women is clunky, as is their dialogue; the fact that people (readers) think that anytime a female protagonist commits violent acts in literature, it immediately is labeled as feminist; the fa ...more
Horror is my favorite genre. It isn't always easy to find a horror book with a different story. I'm always searching for the best books I've never heard of before and was lucky in one such search when I found this book. It is dark, gruesome and disturbing. The story is very brutal and even after the initial plot unfolds, the characters continue to spiral into an abyss of darkness and despair. I enjoyed the author very much and even throughout this horrible tale there was humor added in good meas ...more
Patricija - aparecium_libri
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
It was very interesting, but also very disturbing at the same time. I finally got out of my reading slump though. The characters were somber and nasty, but they didn't feel flat at least. I liked the plot overall and idea of the book but since it gave me nausea I don't think I'll re read this.
Also I hated the ending.
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NATSUO KIRINO (桐野夏生), 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 b ...more

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“You know," she murmured, "we're all heading straight to hell."
"Yes," said Masako, giving her a bleak look. "It's like riding downhill with no brakes."
"You mean, there's no way to stop?"
"No, you stop all right - when you crash.”
More quotes…