A few weeks ago I raved about how Sophie Hannah’s Little Face was the best thriller I have ever read – not any more – Out has leapfrogged way past her, straight into my all time top ten books.
As with Little Face, Out isn’t the normal whodunit mystery. We witness the murder very early on, and so the main question for the rest of the book is: Will they get caught?
Yoyoi is a young mother struggling to raise her two young children, and is suffering at the hands of her abusive husband. One night it all becomes too much for her to deal with, and so she murders her husband. She confides in her colleague, Masako, who agrees to help her dispose of the body. With the help of her co-workers Masako dismembers the body and hides the gruesome bits around the city. Unfortunately, some body parts are discovered and the police start asking questions. The plot becomes more complex, as loan sharks become involved, and the prime police suspect tries to find out the truth behind the crime he is innocent of committing
It is really hard to convey just how good this book is. It isn’t just that it is a cleverly plotted, perfectly paced book which is packed with complex characters and boasts a perfect ending. This book really makes you think. What would you do to protect a friend? If you were struggling financially – would you do anything to help your family? This book was so thought provoking that it became the focus of the majority of conversations I had with family and friends this week.
Out isn’t for the squeamish, as there are graphic descriptions of dismemberment and violent rape, but these images were important for conveying the situations that these Japanese women had to deal with. The vivid images I have of this book will stay with me for a very long time.
The only complaint I have is that there were a few minor translation problems. There was the odd sentance that didn’t flow properly, and a few uniquely Japanese things, which were translated in such a way that it lost some of the atmosphere for me. The recurring one being the boxed lunch, which doesn’t exist in the western world. I would much preferred it to be called by it’s Japanese name: the bento box, as ‘boxed lunch’ doesn’t really bring across the same distinctly Japanese images it should do.
These are very minor issues though, and overall I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Cancel your order for Wilderness, and buy this instead!
Thank you so much to Melody for recommending this to me. I will be paying much more interest to her recommendations in the future.
What is the best thriller you have ever read?
Have you read any books by Natsuo Kirino?
Are any of the others as good as this one?
but most importantly….would you help your best friend hide her dead husband?!!