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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.
Natsuo Kirino, born in 1951, quickly established a reputation in Japan as one of a rare breed of crime writer whose work goes well beyond the conventional crime novel. This fact has been demonstrated by her winning not only Japan's top mystery award, for Out, but one of its major literary awards, the Naoki Prize, for Soft Cheeks, followed by the Tanizaki Prize for Tokyo Island. Several of her books have also been turned into movies.