Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Natsuo Kirino has been one of Japan's top mystery writers for a dozen years; amazingly, Out, translated by Stephen Snyder, is her first appearance in English. With the heartbreaking inevitability of a Russian novel, it tells the story of a collective crime: the murder of an abusive husband and the disposal of his body by four women who work together on the night shift at a Tokyo factory that produces cheap, tasty, possibly even nutritious boxed lunches. The women are bound together in a friendship made up of financial need and a deep understanding of revenge.