I wish I didn’t have to write this review. I was so excited to read this book and had heard good things about it, but I just hated it. HATED it. The only reason it’s getting two stars instead of one is because the translator handled the prose magnificently. Too bad the story stunk.
Out centers on four women who work the night shift making boxed lunches. Masako is the smart one, Yoshi is the kind one, Kuniko is the selfish one, and Yayoi is the innocent one. One night Yayoi gets fed up with her abusive asshat of a husband and strangles him to death in their living room. Unsure of where to turn, she asks her friends from work for help in getting rid of the body. From there, everything starts to spiral out of control.
Part of my loathing lies in my expectations. I thought it was going to be some real “Earl had to die” story about women showing their terrible husbands what’s what and banding together to start a body disappearing business. On paper, that’s kind of what happened, but the tone is very, very grim and there is zero joy to this book. The closest book I’d compare it to would be Crime and Punishment. Even if I’d been prepared for that level of awful, I still wouldn’t have loved Out. There are some weird sexual undertones about women enjoying abuse that I just couldn’t stomach. I kept expecting it to get better, but it just got worse and worse, climaxing in a brutal, nonsensical scene.