Picture of author.

Natsuo Kirino

Author of Out

40+ Works 5,967 Members 220 Reviews 37 Favorited

About the Author

Disambiguation Notice:

Natsuo Kirino is the pen-name of Mariko Hashioka.

Image credit: Makoto Watanabe


Works by Natsuo Kirino

Out (1997) 3,311 copies
Grotesque (2003) 1,319 copies
Real World (2003) 804 copies
The Goddess Chronicle (2008) 271 copies
Soft Cheeks (1999) 70 copies
L'isola dei naufraghi (2008) 36 copies
Una storia crudele (2004) 31 copies
I’m sorry, mama. (2004) 17 copies
顔に降りかかる雨 (1993) 15 copies
Intrusion (2009) 10 copies
In (2009) 10 copies
Yawarakana hoho : 2 (2004) 8 copies
Yawarakana hoho : 1 (2004) 8 copies
Grotesque : Volume 1 (2006) 8 copies
Grotesque : Volume 2 (2006) 8 copies
Night Abandoned Angel (1997) 3 copies
ダーク 上 (2006) 2 copies
玉蘭 (2001) 2 copies
ダーク 下 (2006) 2 copies
ダーク (2002) 2 copies
光源 (文春文庫) (2000) 2 copies
錆びる心 (1997) 1 copy
濡濕面頰的雨 (1997) 1 copy
PIOGGIA SUL VISO (2021) 1 copy
Xấu 1 copy
魂萌え ! (2005) 1 copy
Zrůda (2012) 1 copy
Out ((Réédition)) (2021) 1 copy
ナニカアル (2010) 1 copy
優しいおとな (2010) 1 copy
玉蘭 (2008) 1 copy

Associated Works

Granta 110: Sex (2010) — Contributor — 124 copies
早稲田文学増刊 女性号 (2017) — Contributor — 1 copy


(16) 2007 (17) 20th century (16) Asia (22) Asian (24) contemporary fiction (19) crime (211) crime fiction (69) ebook (31) fantasy (18) feminism (19) fiction (597) goodreads (19) horror (63) Japan (504) Japanese (194) Japanese fiction (75) Japanese literature (123) library (21) literature (25) murder (131) mystery (200) mystery-thriller (18) narrativa (15) Natsuo Kirino (18) noir (58) novel (77) own (27) owned (16) prostitution (30) read (88) suspense (34) thriller (184) to-read (575) Tokyo (47) translated (27) translation (60) unread (44) wishlist (18) women (57)

Common Knowledge



I definitely had some conflicted feelings throughout reading Natsuo Kirino's Out. First, it took me a bit to get into the book and the flow of the writing, (which was different than most books I usually read, and this is, I believe, the first Japanese novel I've read that wasn't a manga). Once I got the flow of the story, I was really into it and it held a lot of promise for me. However, the last two chapters or even the last six pages or so really killed it for me.

Before I go into that, a brief outline of the plot. The story follows four women in Tokyo who all work the same night shift together at a factory that makes boxed lunches. All of them lead pretty despairing lives in one way or another. One of the women is abused by her husband, and after a particularly bad brawl, she snaps and kills him. With no one else to turn to, she begs one of her friends from the factory – Masako – to help her dispose of the body. Gradually, each of the women gets involved in some way or another. Circumstances become more complicated as dangerous outside forces also become intertwined in the incident.

The majority of the novel has some strong feminist undertones and messages. How these women ended up in their situations, and why they do the things they do in the book, all point a finger at the male-dominant society they live in. Spousal abuse, neglect, unfair/sexist workplace practices... all these things seemed to have built up to push them all over the edge. In that way, the author puts the reader (I'm guessing especially a female one), on their sides. The downtrodden women suddenly all seem more confident after the incident, with a sense of independence and control returning in their lives. Masako especially becomes a powerful figure of independence, the incident leaving her feel like she can free herself from her stagnant life, (hence the title, perhaps?). I really admired Masako's behavior throughout the novel... up until those last few pages, as I mentioned.

Eventually, her involvement in the disposal of her friend's murdered husband catches up to her, and completely throws off what could have been a really good ending. Basically, the body of the husband is discovered, and suspicion is placed on the owner of a casino the husband frequented. While the owner is not convicted, his life is ultimately ruined. He hunts down all the women involved, finally setting his sites on Masako. In the last couple chapters, he catches her, rapes her, and nearly kills her but for one last clever move on her behalf. In the last few pages, though, she expresses remorse at having killed the man who raped her because somehow he was the only person that understood her??? She feels lost with him dead, but resolves to buy a plane ticket and leave Japan anyways.

In short, the strong personality we read about in the rest of the novel is suddenly weak and broken. Her cool logic seen through most of the book is all tossed out the window, and it really caught me off-guard. While what happened to her is truly awful, and would throw anyone's personality out of sorts, I was really disappointed in her reaction to the event. Basically, I had a hard time buying that someone as smart as Masako would feel empty without the person who raped and nearly killed her. In her attempt to understand him before killing him, was she supposed to have suddenly fell in love with him? It felt truly absurd to me.

Aside from the plot taking a nose-dive at the end, this book was really well-written and suspenseful. Each character had such a different background, and such distinct personalities. Kirino is also really great at setting the scene – many of the locations described felt almost tangible. The book is, however, very stomach-churning in some parts, and very bleak and depressing in others. It makes one feel guilty because we all know there are people out there that are really scraping by like this, and it's really sad. So in short, this book has some really powerful messages and a lot of potential, but the ending may kill it for you.
… (more)
escapinginpaper | 128 other reviews | May 18, 2024 |
Story: 7 / 10
Characters: 8
Setting: 7
Prose: 6
MXMLLN | 128 other reviews | Jan 12, 2024 |
AMAZING. Not only does the author present the Japanese culture in a very different matter, but also manages to make the story thrilling, entertaining, and at times scary. I love this book from beginning to end and everything in between.

Not only did it read well, but it presented different characters from different social realms and have them even interact with each other in such a way that made the story all the more captivating. In addition , the author does a great job of making each character's personality come out through the pages. I found myself cursing at one particular character who drove me crazy and whose end actually made me happy. lol.

Overall, I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a thriller, crime filled book. I appreciate the author presenting the Japanese culture and societal hierarchies within the novel because it gives us somewhat of a taste of how things are in a different part of the world. I'm not going to pretend like I know a lot about Japanese culture, but I feel that in this book it added to the allure of the novel.

I admire the author's talent in writing such a gruesome story, but also tying it all together with each character presented in the plot as well as presenting psychological points of view within the book.
… (more)
KrabbyPattyCakes | 128 other reviews | Dec 3, 2023 |
This is a difficult book to read. None of the characters come off particularly well, as each of them (most of them women) tell their version of events leading up to, and the subsequent fall out of the murders of two schoolmates, who for various reasons have descended into prostitution.[return][return]Each of the women have their own problems, in being too beautiful, not beautiful enough, wanting something unachievable, having pressure put on them externally and internally to be *more*.[return][return]Found it difficult to get any sympathy for any of the characters (if I remember the previous book "Out" correctly, I think they were a little more sympathetic even if they weren't much nicer).… (more)
nordie | 36 other reviews | Oct 14, 2023 |



You May Also Like

Associated Authors


Also by
½ 3.7

Charts & Graphs