Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Out - Natsuo Kirino

Hold on to your hats, chickadees: I've finished a book that isn't Harry Potter or an unreviewable installation of Song of Ice and Fire.

I picked up Out by Natsuo Kirino after Book Riot listed it with Gone Girl as a "Badass Female Revenge Thriller," a genre I can happily get behind. In the end, Out fits the genre better than Gone Girl, with a bonus of sweeping gender commentary.

Out follows four ladies who work the night shift in a boxed-lunch factory in Tokyo. One night, one of these ladies strangles her abusive husband and calls on her friends to help get rid of the body. Calm and intelligent Masako, without fully knowing why, finds herself leading the group in their plot to cover up the crime. As they fall further into the unseen, violent depths of Japanese society, Masako begins to wonder if something like this can ever really be over, if she can ever get out.

Out was both an excellent thriller and a thesis on gender relations in Japan. All of those traditional gender injustices that women face  from the paramount value placed on youth, to viewing ambition in the workplace as uppity ungratefulness, to the inescapable nature of those prescribed roles: wife, mother, caretaker  they face in this book. As a Canadian reader, it struck me that the men and women perpetrating those injustices made a total of zero bones about it. There was no double-talk to soften or cover it: folks were rocking out with their sexism out.

So, then, read it. It's atmosphere and characters are tops, and though I did feel like parts of it were a bit slow, I consistently chose to read it over those Harry Potters. If that's not a mark of a good book then I do not even know.


  1. "excellent thriller and a thesis on gender relations in Japan" And sold! *adds to tbr list*

  2. Hmmmmmm. This does indeed sound good. And I will overlook that you chose it over Harry Potter. *looks menacing for some reason*

    I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT JAPAN KAYLEIGH. Except for what's in the operetta The Mikado. And I suspect that is not historically accurate.

    1. I mean, I read all of the Harry Potter reading, but not all in one gulp. SUPER WEIRD. The book must be amazing.

      I also know nothing of Japan, but it did not hinder my enjoyment here.

  3. Ohhh, a book from Japan that is good. Well. That makes complete sense *strokes all the Murakami books lovingly*.

    Anyway. Yeah, I approve of this book. It sounds awesome. ALSO I kind of want to work in a boxed lunch factory. Just sayin.

    1. How have I been reading your blog for so long and still not have read any Murakami? This is very upsetting.

      But the book was good! And weirdly, I also would try working in a boxed lunch factory, even though it seemed completely horrible.

  4. Sounds like a brilliant read, I am excited to hunt this one down!


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