From: Karin Montin ( kmontin@sympatico.ca)
Date: 24 Feb 2005

I've read a bunch of books lately. One of them was Out, which has been discussed a bit here. I just finished it a few days ago, and will probably be thinking about it for some time.

This is a big book, a lot more words than many in the crime fiction genre. It is beautifully produced--I only spotted one typo, near the end. It even has a nice ribbon sewn into the binding to use as a bookmark, just like Joy of Cooking and the Book of Common Prayer. The translation, by Steven Snyder, was very good--at least the English was excellent. Whether it said what the Japanese said I don't know.

The characters are well drawn, but ultimately not believable. I am not enough of a cynic to believe that three unhappy women would help a fourth get rid of her husband's body. Well, maybe that, but not the downward spiral from there. Perhaps I was just disappointed in the way the central character, Masako, turns out in the end.

The Japan of this book is not the Japan of Sujata Massey (though I would never accuse her novels of being hardboiled or noir) or Isaac Adamson, which could be said to have neon noir qualities. Daily life for the women in the boxed lunch factory is a terrible grind and doesn't look like it's going to get any better.

As to the Christian imagery that Miker mentioned, the only thing I noticed was that Satake plunged his hand in his victim's wound (on her side), kind of like Thomas (right?).

Back in 2003, Mark Hall posted this link to an interview with Natsuo Kirino: http://www.japanreview.net/interview_Natsuo_Kirino.htm

and this one to a review of Out: http://www.japanreview.net/review_out.htm


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