Friday, March 07, 2008

Out by Natsuo Kirino .

I have just finished reading Out by Natsuo Kirino. This book was written in 1997 and translated into English by Stephen Snyder in 2003. It was published in paperback by Vintage in 2004 and I bought a copy from Amazon who were banging it out for just £2.00 - I did not buy it because it was cheap.

I really enjoyed this novel which is a gritty tale set in Japan. This is not a Japanese story, this tale could have happened anywhere in the world. Some readers may think this book is for feminists but it should appeal to both genders. The story involves 3 murders and 1 case of manslaughter but it is not gory. Yes, 3 bodies are cut up into little pieces but it is not gruesome. People reading other posts in my blog will know that reports of terrorist activity are truly gruesome and this book is not as graphic as those newspaper reports I have quoted. There is a small amount of sex in this book but it is not vulgar and is part of the story.

The title Out describes the book well because all the characters involved are looking for a way out, so that they can move on in their lives. All these characters try their level best to move on whatever happens along the way. The reader develops a hope that things will turn out right for all the characters in the end. You are taken into the lives of working class women working in a factory. You understand the bonds that can form between workers who will help each other out beyond the workplace. These women can go to great lengths to help each other yet they can still bitch and mistrust each other.

This book is well written with fully developed characters and plot. It is not glamourous and there is plenty of detail with a lively progress. Everything makes sense to the reader and you pick up on this strong working class atmosphere with all the hopes and failures. At the end of the book you feel "Go for it girl, you are free and have found a way out".

I was impressed by Natsuo's writing and will be interested in reading her other novel Grotesque when I have time to do so.
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