Out by Natsuo Kirino


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Masako, Yoshie, Yayoi and Kinuko work in the night shift in a company that produces boxed lunches. The four women are quite different for nature and behaviour: Masako is clever and cold, Yoshie, always kind, works to support her adolescent daughter and her disabled mother in law, Yayoi is a young mother, while Kuniko, hasty and spendthrift, is plagued by debts.

The relationships between them are destined to get stronger after Yayoi kills her husband after he tried to beat her. She ask help to Masako to get rid of the body, and for various reasons the other two women are involved also in the after-murder.

However it is not so easy to feel safe: some body parts are found, a loan company is suspicious about Kuniko money transfers, and a night-club owner, wrongly accused of the murder, is interested in knowing the truth and getting his revenge.

The atmosphere of the novel seems rarefied, both for the continuous worry about being discovered, and for the private life of the main characters, that does not provided them any satisfaction or happiness. Masako does not have anymore a dialogue with her husband and her son (who closed in a self-imposed muteness), Yoshie is vexed by demanding daughters and by her mother in law who constantly needs to be helped, and Kuniko is selfish and alone.

Out is an interesting noir, easy to read but distressing, and it show us a different kind of Japan, very different from the one we are used to know. It’s a suggested reading, but take into account that there is random violence and dissected bodies.

* Out by Natsuo Kirino ★★★★☆

*I read this book in italian

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout


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Olive Kitteridge us a novel made by thirteen stories, but it’s also the name of the character who is the recurring element. Olive is both the main character and a background one, but always her presence could be felt in the story, thanks also for her strong character.

Olive is a woman who lives in Crosby, Maine, she is a wife, a mother and teaches maths. Her husband counterpoises her character by being more accommodating, while with her son she has a difficult relation, as we can see from the tales where he is always far away, both in space and emotionally.

Olive has a strong character and it’s hard to like her, she is stubborn and moody, but she is also able of unselfish gestures of love, and in these moment her complete humanity emerges, her having the same qualities and flaws of every human being.

Of these novel I remember the rarefied atmosphere, the stillness of the small town where everyone knows everyone, but I recall also the ability to evolve that some of the characters have, and among them Olive’s, who changes, story after story, and becomes aware of herself and of the relationships she built during her life.

I do not think Olive Kitteridge could be defined a novel to spend some time, it’s more like a novel that leaves an impression after its passage.

* Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout ★★★★☆

*I read this book in italian