Friday, August 29, 2008

Out by Natsuo Kirino

Just when you think it can't get any worse ... it does. This novel is a great example of noir literature. It has the usual noir elements of darkness, despair, hopelessness and betrayal. Layered on top of this noir novel is a very black comedy of gender warfare.

A young mother, living in the Tokyo suburbs and working the night shift at a boxed lunch factory, wants out of her miserable marriage to a philandering and abusive husband. Her solution? Strangle him. Unfortunately, this solution creates a new problem ... a dead body that needs to disappear. Fortunately, this young mother has empathetic lady friends who are equally desperate to get "out" of their own miserable circumstances and are therefore willing to help dispose of the body.

Unfortunately for these ladies, they find that the nightmare has just begun and this one act has pulled them into the "violent underbelly of Japanese society." In usual noir-ish fashion, all does not end well and no solutions are offered to resolve the hostilities between the sexes.

This is not my favorite type of reading, but I thought the story was well done and was an excellent example of noir and black comedy. The translation, by Stephen Snyder, seemed extraordinarily good to me; I never once thought about the fact that I was reading the book in translation.

Rating: 4 out of 5


The Holistic Knitter said...

I loved this book ;0)

Bellezza said...

It's one of my choices for this challenge and the RIP III Challenge at Stainless Steel Droppings. All the great reviews have convinced me to try it!