20060825

Out

Natsuo Kirino - Out

Betyg: 3/5

Bok om ett gäng japanska kvinnor som arbetar hårt nattskift på en fabrik för att nätt och jämnt hålla näsan över vattnet. För en av dem brister det och hon har ihjäl sin man, och de andra griper in för att hjälpa henne.

OK, just finished it and here's some thoughts:

I don't DISlike it, and there are some very interesting things to it. I really liked the theme of outsiders in Japan - women, immigrants, low-income workers in one of the world's richest countries; the overall story is interesting too - not exactly unique, but interesting enough to keep me turning the pages. And the way she describes a lot of crucial scenes from more than one perspective is really well-done. Plus, hey, gore. Me like gore.

However, I do have some problems with it. For starters - and this is something that might be partly the translator's fault - while it's mostly well-written, there's a lot of redundancies and unnecessary clarifications that violate the show-don't-tell rule. For instance: "He was wearing a soiled suede jacket over a black sweater. The worn look of the jacket seemed to mirror his mental state." Why TELL us what it symbolizes? She does this again and again. A similar problem is that we are TOLD about character's flaws - I can't find the quote right now, but it says something about Satake that he was unaware that of a character flaw of his; show, don't tell, Kirino. It's clumsy. (And the passage where they estimate the length of a corpse lying flat on its back to "about 168 centimetres" - a fairly exact estimate - is another symtom of this.)

Which brings us to the characters themselves; for the most part, they're really well-drawn and you empathize with their plight, even if the book hardly has a single likeable character. (By "likeable" I don't mean "nice"; I consider Humbert Humbert and Patrick Bateman likeable characters, even if they ARE evil.) I love the fact that there isn't one hero in shining armor, it's all one huge moral grey area, but at times I find myself not really caring what happens to any of the characters since they're all so... well, whiny. And Satake is WAY too exaggeratedly psycho.

Which brings us to Masako, arguably the "hero" of the piece. On a whole, I like her, she's a fascinating character, but time and again she does things that I just don't buy. On one page, she's having nightmares about cutting up a body, and on the next she's excited about doing it again. She's supposedly cold as ice, yet for some reason men half her age seem to become obsessed with her. She wants to die, she wants to live, she doesn't care about her friends, yet she pities Satake, she wants out, she goes back in... Make up your mind already.

At one point, Kirino name-drops Ryu Murakami. I was way ahead of her; I'm not very well-read on Murakami, but the works of his I'm familiar with - "In The Miso Soup" and the script for "Audition" (which features an ending very similar to the one in "Out") - do tackle similar subjects. Only "In The Miso Soup" did it sharper, bloodier and in less than 200 pages.

In short: a decent effort. Not spectacular, not bad.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Skrubbaluttan said...

En björn?!

2:51 em  
Blogger katafon said...

Jo. :D

2:55 em  
Blogger Skrubbaluttan said...

jäj!

5:59 em  

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