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Book Discussions > Out - Natsuo Kirino (December Book Selection)

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Richard | 47 comments Mod
The first novel to be published in the English language by Natsuo Kirino, it was soon followed by the translation of two of her other novels "Real World" and "Grotesque" yet for some reason Kirino still remains very much a cult author. What is it about her work which stops her from reaching the same levels of popularity she has in her native Japan?


This story of four women working the graveyard shift at a Japanese bento factory, who soon find themselves with a new sideline of work in body disposal shortly after helping Yayoi cover up the murder of her gambling addict husband. Could this novel be seen as a study of the darker side of humanity?

Is this novel more of a statement on what we are willing to do in order to survive, especially considering that the group work under such strict rules at the bento factory, were a scratch can cost them a days work, that they seemingly have little quarms about the seemingly easy money being provided by the body disposal buisness they soon find themselves involved with or is it more about seizing a chance to escape thier hard lives?

The floor is now yours to discuss


Robert Mitchell | 5 comments The fact that Out by Natsuo Kirino requires a response to the world view it posits rather than the story or the writing itself means that her work has fulfilled one of the main goals of a fiction writer, to create a more powerful Truth out of something that didn’t actually happen than the Truth we see around us in “real life.” Rather than thinking “the story moves along at a good pace” or “her descriptions are biting and gritty,” the reader is left wondering “Holy Shit! Does that world really exist 5,000 miles to the east of my front porch?” We all get bleakness and urban blight. Seattle is grey and dreary and rainy. Parts of Gary, Indiana look like a war zone. Most of us have worked graveyard shift at one point or another and have been on our feet 8 – 12 hours before going home to catch a few Zs, go to school, take care of the family, etc. So the protagonists’ much-lauded 5.5 hour shifts seem rather innocuous, honestly. Organized crime? Yep, every society has some of that. Drunken, whoring, good-for-nothing husbands? Yep, you’ll find those all over the globe. So what is it that grabs you by the intestines, sits you upright and forces you to confront evil and hell and despair like Alex with his eyes pried open in A Clockwork Orange? For me it was Masako’s apparent embrace of salvation through sadomasochism. Really? I’d been pulling for her for almost 400 pages and just when she’s about to kill the psycho bastard she…..falls….in love with him? Is that feminism? WTF? Isn’t that hell? I’d like to have coffee with Kirino and ask her, but only if it’s someplace well-lit, with lots of people around and far from my front porch.


Mike (littlemike1976) | 4 comments I really enjoyed this book, it was far better than Grotesque (which was also a good read). I find her writing well paced & absorbing. It's not shocking but does leave the reader uneasy, kind of a hybrid of Bret Easton Ellis & Mo Hayder. I would like to now find a copy of her other book Real World to read.


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