Out, Paperback
4 out of 5 (7 ratings)


In the Tokyo suburbs four women work the draining graveyard shift at a boxed-lunch factory.

Burdened with chores and heavy debts and isolated from husbands and children, they all secretly dream of a way out of their dead-end lives.

A young mother among them finally cracks and strangles her philandering, gambling husband then confesses her crime to Masako, the closest of her colleagues.

For reasons of her own, Masako agrees to assist her friend and seeks the help of the other co-workers to dismember and dispose of the body.

The body parts are discovered, the police start asking questions, but the women have far more dangerous enemies -a yakuza connected loan shark who discovers their secret and has a business proposition, and a ruthless nightclub owner the police are convinced is guilty of the murder.

He has lost everything as a result of their crime and he is out for revenge.

OUT is a psychologically taut and unflinching foray into the darkest recesses of the human soul, an unsettling reminder that the desperate desire for freedom can make the most ordinary person do the unimaginable.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780099472285



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Showing 1 - 5 of 7 reviews.

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Review by

One of the few books I read last year that I didn't want to end. It's amazing how different a foreign culture seems - and yet how similar as well. I was very impressed with this novel; my only critique would be that the ending seemed a let-down. Also it was described as 'pushing the boundaries of dark and disturbing literature' but I didn't feel it did that to such an extent. Still, 5 stars!

Review by

Four women with dead-end jobs and deadbeat husbands try to cover up a murder. A huge hit in Japan, Kirino deserves all the praise and recognition for this smart and stylish (if a little over-long) thriller.

Review by

An amazing read. I'm not usually keen on award winners, approaching them with trepidation as I usually find them stilted and well basically, boring. I will defintely be looking out for more by this author! Set in the suberbs of Tokyo there are four women who work the night shifts at a boxed-lunch factory. All four have different reasons for needing to be there - money, only job available, to be alone; although the one thing they have in common is a need to escape (primarily from their own lives). This is the first meaning of the title 'Out'. One of the women kills her husband, for a variety of reasons and amazingly Masako offers to help her. There is no reason for her to help, but she does. They actually dismember and dispose of him. Meanwhile we are introduced to a nightclub owner (Satake) who the police believe has committed the murder. The story centres eventually around these two characters, who for me are the two appearing on the dust jacket. We follow their lives - every part of it, from their dreams, fears to their daily routines and more especially their enemies. If you felt disturbed by reading 'American Psycho' then this may carry the same or worse feelings. It's cold from the outset. Initially this took me by surprise but then I realised it could be to reflect the genre or be traditional of this writing style. The characters are so convincingly described and the narrative is so powerful. It really is a chilling read. It is violent, disturbing and will seep into you when you least expect it.

Review by

I didnt think much when I picked up this book, truth be told it was something to read during work, however I found it very enthralling. It opened my eyes to sub-culture of Japan - Loan Sharks. Touching upon certain aspects of Japanese life which left me feeling quite empty, the fact these 4 women work nighs making bento boxes on a production line with no achievements, soon dragged into the crime underworld by one fateful mistake. Very light on the romance which would have ruined it for me. Morbid descriptions and a very realistic style of writing, I couldnt put it down til I was done.

Review by

Although it initially appears to be a somewhat grisly Japanese crime thriller, Out ends up posing some surprisingly weighty questions. It follows the story of four women who work together on the night-shift preparing packed lunches; all very ordinary folk but all with various family problems. One has an abusive husband and one day she fights back, killing him. The others help her dispose of the body and slowly but inexorably get sucked deeper into the darker elements of society.Although the plot carries you along while reading it, what you remember when you put the book down is the journey all the characters take. And you end up asking yourself how you would react in similar circumstances. Just how slippery is the slope into the underworld?

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