Thursday, February 5, 2009


I'm a few days too late to count Natsuo Kirino's Out for the Japanese Literature Challenge, which means that I didn't finish that one. Oh well, I have so much life stuff going on that I don't get as much reading done as I'd like. More on that some other time.

What a book! I don't usually read crime novels so this was way out of my comfort zone, but I really enjoyed it. I do love Japanese literature though so maybe that was part of it. It was suspenseful and gruesome at times, but it also had odd moments of clarity about human beings.

The story is basically about a group of women who work the night shift at a factory - they're all different but they all have difficult things they have to deal with and escape from. Then, one of them kills her husband. The others decide to help their friend get rid of the body and this unleashes a whole chain of events and gets a whole string of people involved. Mostly people you'd want to stay away from.

It's also a psychological study of the darkness in human beings. How far into the dark would you go? What would be capable of pushing you there? And what happens when you cross that moral line for the first time? I'm not sure I like the answers... I mean I know that we all have a dark side, but I also hope that it never comes to the surface in most of us. Well, in all of us actually, but that's wishful thinking.

The book read like a thriller - parts were even like watching a thriller. My brain kept saying 'no, don't go there, don't do it, nooooo' during some passages. That's got to be a sign of good writing!

There is one thing that I really didn't like at the end, but I don't want to spoil the book for anyone. Let's just say that I'd hope that hatred is easier to hang on to and that giving in to the dark side isn't that obvious.

I'd definitely recommend this one, whether you like Japanese literature or quality crime writing. Apparently Natsuo Kirino won a prize for another of her books, Soft Cheeks. I now see that it hasn't been translated into English (hopefully yet), but others have. More to choose from, yay!

Challenges: 999 Challenge, A-Z Challenge, Countdown Challenge, Genre Challenge, Lost in Translation, Naming Conventions, New Authors, Suspense and Thriller Challenge, Well-Seasoned Reader


Iliana said...

Congrats on completing your challenge! Wasn't this book great? I also read it for the challenge and really liked it. I hope to read more by her.

Ana S. said...

I want to read this for the next Japanese Lit challenge. It really sounds like something I'd enjoy, even though it's also a little bit out of my comfort zone.

joanna said...

Iliana - it realy was. It was nothing like what I expected it to be and it had me guessing the whole time. Hopefully there will be anothe Japanese challenge this year so I have an excuse to buy something else by her.

Nymeth - I really think you'd like it. It's different, but it's such a well-constructed story and I think that will appeal to you. And the suspense too. :-)