Thursday, March 15, 2012


Sisterhood takes a turn for the worse in Out by Natsuo Kirino when four women in no-hope jobs have a murder to cover up. This is no 9 to 5 romp where a group of gals try to cover-up a murder and out pops bonding, empowerment and happy endings. Out is more a spiral of desperate and questionable choices out of Dostoyevsky.
Pretty Yayoi works the night shift in a Tokyo factory that produces boxed lunches. During the day she battles with a cheating husband who gambles away what little income she brings in. When rage and frustration lead to murder, Yayoi looks to older, wiser co-worker Masako for help. In an attempt to extricate Yayoi, Masako enlists two other co-workers help in getting rid of the body. All four of these women are smart and caring but they are also trapped in lives that are grimly doomed to never get beyond a difficult daily struggle survive. As loyalties, violence, money, accessories to murder, body parts, police, gangsters, pimps, casinos and the power of self-preservation collide with tenuous friendships a riveting and realistic read opens up.  
If the thought of reading about Japan and/or Japanese women conjures up images of cherry blossoms and geishas think again. You will find none of that picture postcard fodder in Out. Kirino’s description of the underbelly of Tokyo is as sensational and gritty as her characters are. This is a tasty slice of hard boiled life. Out is as dark and revenge filled as any noir novel populated by men and twice as psychologically shrewd.

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