Synopses & Reviews
A stunning new work of the feminist noir that Natsuo Kirino defined and made her own in her novels Out
In a crowded residential suburb on the outskirts of Tokyo, four teenage girls indifferently wade their way through a hot, smoggy summer and endless cram school sessions meant to ensure entry into good colleges. There's Toshi, the dependable one; Terauchi, the great student; Yuzan, the sad one, grieving over the death of her mother and trying to hide her sexual orientation from her friends; and Kirarin, the sweet one, whose late nights and reckless behavior remain a secret from those around her. When Toshi's next-door neighbor is found brutally murdered, the girls suspect the killer is the neighbor's son, a high school boy they nickname Worm. But when he flees, taking Toshi's bike and cell phone with him, the four girls get caught up in a tempest of dangers dangers they never could have even imagined that rises from within them as well as from the world around them.
Psychologically intricate and astute, dark and unflinching, Real World is a searing, eye-opening portrait of teenage life in Japan unlike any we have seen before.
"Between the groans of a smog alert siren at the outset of this gripping noir from Kirino (Out), Tokyo high school student Toshi Yamanaka hears what sounds like glass shattering next door. Might a burglar be at work? Later, after learning that a female neighbor has been bludgeoned to death, Toshi suspects that she was an earwitness to the woman's murder and that the killer was the victim's son, a mysterious boy Toshi's age, nicknamed Worm by Toshi and her friends. When Worm vanishes, Toshi, who also suspects he stole her cellphone, finds herself hoping that he'll reach out to her, for reasons she doesn't fully understand. Winner of the Mystery Writers of Japan Award, Kirino uses her considerable narrative gifts to evoke the tedium, pressure and angst her teenage characters suffer. Some readers, though, may find the proceedings just too grim for their taste. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A] disquieting and suspenseful novel." The New Yorker
"Kirino unflinchingly describes the contemporary social conditions of teenagers from their point of view....Highly recommended." Library Journal
About the Author
Natsuo Kirino, born in 1951, is the author of eighteen 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.