Nothing in the sometimes hazy history of Japanese lit-
erature prepares us for the stark,tension-filled,plot-driven
realism of Natsuo Kirino's award-winning mystery Out,
a work that took the Japanese literary scene by storm and
continues to haunt the popular consciousness as a recently
released major motion picture.
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 dead-
beat 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 Karori,emerges
as the emotional heart of OUT and as one of the shrewdest,
most clear-eyed creations in recent fiction.Masako's own
search for a way OUT of the straitjacket of a dead-end
life leads her,too,to take drastic action.
The complex yet riveting narrative seamlessly com-
bines a convincing glimpse into the grimy world of Japan's
yakuza with a brilliant portrayal of the psychology of a
violent crime and the ensuing game of cat-and-mouse
between seasoned detectives and a group of determined
but inexperienced criminals.Kirino has mastered a Thelma
and Louise kind of graveyard humor that illuminates her
stunning evocation of the pressures and prejudices that
drive women to extreme deeds and the friendship that
blosters them in the aftermath.
OUT shows its auther to be Japan's finest mystery writer
as well as one of the most astute observers of contempo-
rary society,revealing,in the course of its gripping pages,the
fears,hopes,and obsessions that drive a complex country.
"A masterpiece in this genre"
-Prize jury,Mystery Writers of Japan