In a suburb on the outskirts of Tokyo, four teenage girls drift through a hot smoggy August and tedious summer school classes. There's dependable Toshi; brainy Terauchi; Yuzan, grief-stricken and confused; and Kirarin, whose late nights and reckless behaviour remain a secret from those around her. Then Toshi's next-door neighbour is found brutally murdered and the girls suspect Worm, the neighbour's son and a high school misfit. But when he disappears (taking Toshi's bike and cell phone with him) the four girls become irresistibly drawn into a treacherous vortex of brutality and seduction which rises from within themselves as well as the world around them.
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(190mm x 135mm x 15mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
US Kirkus Review »
From Kirino (Grotesque, 2007, etc.), a tale of teens driven to extremes.Toshi is getting ready to go to cram school - summer drill sessions to help her get into a good college - when she hears the sound of breaking glass coming from the house next door to hers in a nice Tokyo suburb. Later, she discovers that her neighbor - a boy she calls "Worm" - killed his mother that morning, and that he has stolen her bicycle and her cell phone. She keeps what she knows from the police, but she tells her three best friends. Narrated in alternating voices, this novel relays the story of five young people who fail to navigate the dangers of adolescence. The fact that their brutal idiocy varies in quantity, rather than in quality, from that of the typical teen should be a source of horror as events spin irretrievably out of control. The grandiose self-pity and sheer foolishness of these kids is believable but frustrating: The desire to take away their texting privileges and send them to bed without supper quickly overtakes the desire to keep reading. At the same time, the language in which their dialogue is rendered is often stiff and unconvincing. Even in a culture that places a high value on scholastic testing, it's hard to believe that kids would use vocabulary-test words like "blithely" and "dumbfounded" in their internal monologues. And, in the moments before Worm first decides to kill his mother, the worst epithet he can muster is "old bag." Like teens pretty much everywhere, Japanese kids are known for their inventive patois; one would hope that a kid driven to matricide could muster a lively expletive or two.Exasperating. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Natsuo Kirino
Natsuo Kirino, born in 1951, is the author of sixteen novels, four short-story collections, and an essay collection. She is the recipient of six of Japan's premier literary awards, including the Mystery Writers of Japan Award for Out, and the Izumi Kyoka Prize for Literature for Grotesque. Her work has been translated into nineteen languages, and several of her books have been turned into movies. Out was the first of her novels to appear in English and was nominated for an Edgar Award. She lives in Tokyo.