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|1997 (Japanese edition)
September 30, 2004 (English translation)
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|Pages||388 pp (paperback edition)|
Out (アウト) is a 1997 Japanese crime novel written by Japanese author Natsuo Kirino and published in English in 2004. The novel won the 51st Mystery Writers of Japan Award for Best Novel. It is her first novel to be published in the English language. The book is currently published by Vintage, part of Random House, in Britain and has been translated into English by Stephen Snyder. The English translation was nominated for the 2004 Edgar Award for Best Novel.
A Japanese film adaptation of Out, directed by Hirayama Hideyuki, was released in 2002 to generally tepid reviews. According to Variety (on-line edition), New Line Cinema has purchased the rights for an American version, to be directed by Nakata Hideo (Ring, Ring 2).
The novel tells the tales of four women, working the graveyard shift at a Japanese bento factory. All four women live hard lives. Masako, accepted as the leader of the four women, feels completely alienated from her estranged husband and teenage son. Kuniko, a plump and rather vain girl, has recently been ditched by her boyfriend after the couple were driven into debt leaving Kuniko to fend off a loan shark. Yoshie is a single mother and reluctant caretaker of her mother-in-law, who was left partly paralyzed after a stroke. Yayoi is a thirty-four-year-old mother of two small boys. She hates to leave her children home alone to go to work. More than that, she hates the thought of her drunken, gambling husband, Kenji returning home and hurting them.
Returning home one night Kenji tells Yayoi he has gambled all their savings away on a game called baccarat. Yayoi becomes upset and questions Kenji about Anna, a hostess of the club where Kenji gambles, and whom she suspects he's having an affair with. Earlier that night Satake, (the owner of the club) approaches Kenji, orders him to stop following Anna, but Kenji becomes belligerent and starts assailing Satake, forcing him to kick Kenji down some stairs in the club. Nonetheless, Kenji is furious after Yayoi mentions Anna. He hits her, and after she's fallen down, hits her again. Later she looses her temper and strangles him to death.
She desperately persuades Masako, who eventually gets Yoshie and Kuniko involved, to help her dispose of the body. The body is dismembered, secured in many black garbage bags, and hidden all over Tokyo. It is isn't long before one carelessly hidden bag is discovered and the police begin to ask questions. As if things weren't bad enough, the women begin to blackmail each other, a loanshark is requiring their services, and a criminal who has lost everything because of their antics has begun to hunt the women down.
The way out is not easy and certainly not pretty.
- Tozai Mystery Best 100 (The Top 100 Mystery Novels of the East and the West)
- Fleming, Michael (June 29, 2004). "New Line thrills to 'Out' with Nakata". Variety. Retrieved 2007-05-22.