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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  21,360 ratings  ·  2,354 reviews

In the Tokyo suburbs four women work the draining graveyard shift at a boxed-lunch factory. Burdened with chores and heavy debts and isolated from husbands and children, they all secretly dream of a way out of their dead-end lives.

A young mother among them finally cracks and strangles her philandering, gambling husband then confesses her crime to Masako, the closest of

Kindle Edition, 528 pages
Published August 2nd 2018 by Vintage Digital (first published July 15th 1997)
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Luca Joos You can order the movie via Japanese Amazon、I'm pretty sure there is no English synchronization, but it might have English Subtitles if you're lucky.…moreYou can order the movie via Japanese Amazon、I'm pretty sure there is no English synchronization, but it might have English Subtitles if you're lucky.

Name: Out, アウト、”auto"

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Mon Yes. And non-sexual graphic violence as well
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  21,360 ratings  ·  2,354 reviews

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Jim Fonseca
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Edward Lorn
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of noir and crime fiction.
Recommended to Edward by: Bark
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
David Putnam
Nov 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. I highly recommend this book to those who like dark noir with strong female characters. This author's other books are not nearly as good. So far this is a one-off for her.
David Putnam author of the Bruno Johnson series.
Jul 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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,
Joce (squibblesreads)
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
‘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 ...more
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.
I seem to be fascinated by every Japanese crime-thriller I read. But this one definitely stands OUT. Japanese books of these genres are darker, creepier and more thrilling than everything else.

Set in 1990's Japan, somewhere in Tokyo, OUT revolves around four middle aged women working night shift in a factory. They're all unhappy with their disappointed lives, abusive husbands, depressed kids and lousy jobs. There are lot of characters but it is centered around, as the blurb says, ringleader,
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Jun 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Hertzan Chimera
Feb 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, mystery, murder, asian
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
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,
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
3.5 stars.

It took me much longer than originally anticipated to finish reading Out. On paper, this book has everything I love: dark humour, murder, suspense, a Japanese setting. Unfortunately though, this wasn't the standout read I was hoping for, but one with many peaks and troughs.

The initial storyline drew me in: a woman who is abused by her husband ends up killing them, then enlists the help of her night shift co-workers to help her dispose of the body. It's a really awesome idea, and I
I wanted to like this one more than I actually did like it. The beginning of the story, learning about Yayoi, Yoshie, Masako, and Kuniko was interesting, and the death and immediate aftermath was interesting, but I just found myself losing interest shortly after that, and struggled to finish.

I think that this book would work for a lot of people, but I found it kind of disappointing. I found it hard to connect with these characters. I kept thinking how I would react and act and think differently
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 ...more
Marianna Neal
Had to sleep on this one before giving it a rating, but I think I've processed Out enough to say a few things. Loved the characters and how developed they were—everyone is some level of messed up, found the setting very interesting to read about, the story kept me wanting to know more even though the pacing had some weird dips here and there, but not sure I'm sold on the culmination/ending. In case you're sensitive to that kind of thing, there is some seriously graphic stuff in here on several ...more
Mar 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me about three months to read this novel. For those who know my reading habits, you will be aware that I read fast. Inordinately fast, I am told. The reason for my lagging pace where this book is concerned was not because it was so bad I couldn’t make myself read it, it was because the novel was a bit too realistic, it sucked me in a bit too deeply – enough anyway that I had to put it down, recover and then resume reading. So from the synopsis you will know that four women work the ...more
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A heartwarming tale of friendship and stepping up to the plate to help a fellow boxed lunch factory worker in her time of need. That’s what friends are for. Well…that and body disposal. And maybe making a little extra dough in the process. Bonus!

Since bad decisions and escalating consequences was my middle name in college, this was right in my wheelhouse.

Surprisingly dark and even funny at times with well-developed characters and an intricately woven plot line. Crime fiction thrillers are pretty
I don't normally read psychological thrillers. The first 50 pages were hard to get into, there were a lot of characters all at once and it felt really dense and intense. Also, I should tell you, if you are sensitive to rape scenes in books, this book is not for you.

But let me tell you, this is one of the best, most well-written, most layered books I have read in a long time.

Masako Katori is one of the best female protagonists I have come across. She is complex, she is almost unknowable, and that
Is it strange to say that this book, which is one of the darkest I've read, had some of the best female characterization I've read as well? It just seems odd to me that I could get such an interesting feeling from a book filled to the brim with awful and morally ambiguous people doing morally ambiguous but mostly just straight up awful things. Usually books with a disturbing nature to this degree don't really aim to do or say much else aside from disturbing the reader.

The way Natsuo Kirino
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Point Blank: Out by Natsuo Kirinp 3 2 Nov 24, 2019 01:53PM  
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Around the World: Japan - Gaeta recommends Out 5 51 Dec 25, 2017 09:01PM  
Lettori sui generis: GdL di aprile: Le quattro casalinghe di Tokyo di Natsuo Kirino 31 27 Jul 07, 2017 07:57AM  
Books that will be translated 1 17 Oct 26, 2016 06:09PM  
Ellipsis Book Group: And March's Book is... 1 16 Mar 02, 2015 03:39AM  

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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 ...more
“When stones lying warm in the sun were turned over, they exposed the cold, damp earth underneath; and that was where Masako had burrowed deep. There was no trace of warmth in this dark earth, yet for a bug curled up tight in it, it was a peaceful and familiar world.” 18 likes
“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…