Original book title: アウト
Author: Natsuo Kirino
Publisher: Bra böcker , 528 pages
Language: Swedish
Original language: Japanese
Year of publication:  1997

This was one of the most entertaining books I’ve read in a long time!

This book revolves around four women who work the night shift at a factory that produces ready-packed lunches. It’s a tough job, and large debts and worthless men burden these women. One of the women eventually kills her cheating, gambling husband and admits it to her closest colleague, Masako, who decides to help her friend. They cut up the body and get rid of it. But one of the women has been careless; the police discover some body parts. Besides the police, the women have even more dangerous enemies to worry about. A loan shark with Yakuza contacts discovers their secret and a ruthless nightclub owner who lost everything because of them and wants revenge.

The whole book is filled of different kind of fear. All four women are afraid of different things, but the root is usually money, or lack of money. The women in this book have very different characters and handle the situation they are in different ways, but unhappiness is something they all have in common. Masako, who is the book’s main character, is an unusual character in many ways. She is stubborn and an apparently cold facade that makes the other three women afraid of her. All the characters in this book are very special and I can’t say that I feel any sympathy for any of them. However, they are all very interesting in their own way and drive the story forward with their good but mostly bad decisions and choices.

This is a well-written thriller where I, as a reader was swept by several bizarre events that led to that the book seemed amusing and at the same time unpleasant.

How the relationship between the four women changed during the story is very well described. Natsuo Kirino describes both the appearance and the environment in a way that lets you see everything in front of you. Sometimes the bizarre events seem unreal, but it also made the reading experience very exciting.

This is the first book I read by Natsuo Kirino and I am very curious about her other books.


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