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If you’re a fan of crime novels, then Natsuo Kirino’s “Out” is undoubtedly a must-read. With its gripping plot, nuanced characters, and themes of identity and desperation, it’s no wonder why it has become a bestseller. But if you’re looking for a new way to experience this novel, then you might want to try the audiobook adaptation.

In this comprehensive audiobook review, we will examine how the audio format enhances or detracts from the storytelling experience. We will evaluate the quality of the narration, pacing, and character development, among other elements. By the end of this review, you’ll have a better idea of whether the “Out” audiobook is right for you.

Key Takeaways:

  • The “Out” audiobook adaptation offers a unique way to experience Natsuo Kirino’s bestselling crime novel.
  • We evaluate the audiobook’s narration, pacing, character development, and overall production quality.
  • Listeners will gain a better understanding of the differences between the audiobook and printed versions of “Out.”
  • This comprehensive review will provide a final verdict and recommendation for listeners who enjoy gripping crime novels.

Introduction to “Out” by Natsuo Kirino

For fans of crime fiction, Natsuo Kirino’s “Out” is a must-read. This bestselling novel has captivated readers around the world with its intricate plot and compelling characters. Published in 1997, it was the first of Kirino’s novels to be translated into English, and it immediately garnered critical acclaim.

At its core, “Out” is a story about four women who work the night shift at a factory in Tokyo. When one of them kills her abusive husband, the others rally around her to help her dispose of the body and cover up the crime. What follows is a tense and darkly humorous exploration of crime, identity, and the lengths people will go to protect themselves and their loved ones.

The audiobook adaptation of “Out” is a thrilling listen, expertly narrated and bringing this gripping story to life in a new medium. As we evaluate the audiobook in this review, it’s important to first understand the novel’s premise and main characters.

Key Characters in “Out”

Character Description
Masako Katori A divorced mother of two who works at the boxed-lunch factory to support her children.
Kuniko Jonouchi An outwardly tough woman who lives with her boyfriend.
Yayoi Yamamoto A young woman struggling to support her family on minimum wage.
Mitsuyo Terauchi The oldest woman in the group, who still lives with her parents and dreams of a better life.

Each of these women is defined by their struggles and dreams, and the unique ways they cope with their challenging lives. As we explore the audiobook adaptation of “Out,” we will also delve into the significance of these characters and how they drive the story forward.

Plot Summary of “Out”

plot summary

In “Out” by Natsuo Kirino, a group of factory workers becomes entangled in a dark web of crime and deceit after one of them kills her abusive husband. The story follows the complex and sometimes violent relationships between the women, as they work together to dispose of the body and cover up the crime.

As the story progresses, their secrets and lies begin to unravel, and each character is forced to confront their own dark past and hidden motivations. Betrayals and unexpected alliances drive the fast-paced plot forward, culminating in a shocking conclusion that will leave listeners on the edge of their seats.

With its intricate storytelling and complex characters, “Out” is a gripping crime novel that pushes the boundaries of the genre. The audiobook adaptation brings the story to life with its skilled narration and taut pacing, making it a must-listen for fans of Natsuo Kirino and crime fiction in general.

Themes Explored in “Out”

In “Out,” Natsuo Kirino delves into the dark themes of crime and identity, exploring the complexities of human nature and the desire for escape. Throughout the audiobook, listeners are drawn into a world of murder, betrayal, and desperation as the characters navigate their way through a gritty underworld of criminal activity.

The audiobook brilliantly portrays the themes of crime and identity through its narration, character development, and plot progression. The story is brought to life through vivid descriptions of the characters’ inner struggles and the harsh realities of their surroundings, providing listeners with an immersive experience that is both captivating and thought-provoking.

As the story unfolds, the audiobook delves deeper into the complexities of human nature, examining the motivations behind criminal behavior and the various factors that drive individuals to commit heinous acts. Through its exploration of these themes, “Out” forces listeners to confront uncomfortable truths about society and the human condition, leaving a lasting impact on those who dare to listen.


In “Out,” crime is portrayed as a means of escape for characters who feel trapped in their everyday lives. The audiobook explores the various reasons why individuals turn to crime, including financial difficulties, emotional turmoil, and a desire for power and control. Kirino’s portrayal of the criminal underworld is both gritty and realistic, offering listeners a glimpse into a world that is often hidden from view.


“Out” also explores the theme of identity, examining how individuals define themselves in the face of adversity. The audiobook highlights the struggles that characters face as they try to reconcile their inner desires with the harsh realities of the world around them. Kirino’s depiction of identity is both nuanced and complex, drawing listeners into a world of self-discovery and introspection.

Audiobook Performance and Narration

audiobook performance

One of the key aspects of any audiobook is the performance and narration, which can make or break the overall listening experience. In the case of the “Out” audiobook by Natsuo Kirino, we can say with confidence that the narration and voice acting are exceptional.

The audiobook is narrated by Emily Woo Zeller, who brings a level of intensity and gravitas to the story that keeps listeners engaged from start to finish. Her portrayal of the characters is spot-on, particularly in capturing the voices of the female leads.

Moreover, the overall production value of the audiobook is top-notch, with clear and crisp audio quality that enhances the storytelling experience. The sound design also adds an extra layer of immersion, with sound effects and ambient noise that help bring the scenes to life.

In conclusion, the “Out” audiobook by Natsuo Kirino is a must-listen for fans of crime fiction, with a gripping story and exceptional voice acting and production value. The audiobook performance enhances the overall enjoyment of the story and brings it to life in a way that readers of the printed version may not have experienced.

Pacing and Suspense in the Audiobook

One of the most compelling aspects of “Out” by Natsuo Kirino is its expertly paced plot and suspenseful storytelling. The audiobook adaptation accentuates this strength by delivering an engrossing listen that keeps listeners on the edge of their seats.

The audiobook’s pacing manages to strike a delicate balance between slower, character-driven moments and fast-paced action sequences. As a result, the listener is never left feeling bored or disengaged. Instead, the quieter moments serve to deepen the character development and further enhance the story’s overall impact.

Meanwhile, the audiobook’s expertly crafted suspense is nothing short of impressive. Listeners will find themselves drawn into the story’s web of deceit and intrigue, eagerly anticipating the next twist or turn. The tension is maintained throughout the audiobook’s runtime, making for a truly gripping listen.

Overall, the “Out” audiobook adaptation does an exceptional job of capturing the nuanced pacing and suspenseful storytelling of Natsuo Kirino’s beloved novel. This is a must-listen for anyone looking for a thrilling crime story that will keep them on the edge of their seat.

Character Development in the Audiobook

One of the most impressive aspects of the “Out” audiobook adaptation is the portrayal of the characters. Natsuo Kirino’s novel features a cast of complex, multi-layered individuals, and the audiobook does an excellent job of bringing them to life.

The narration provides listeners with a deep understanding of each character’s motivations and actions, drawing attention to their flaws and strengths. Through the audiobook, listeners can better appreciate the nuances of the characters’ relationships and interactions, leading to a greater emotional investment in the story.

The character development in the audiobook is particularly notable during the climax of the story, where the characters’ true natures are revealed. The tension and drama of this moment are heightened by the audiobook’s strong characterizations, making for a truly memorable listening experience.

Comparison of Character Portrayal in Print and Audiobook

Printed Version Audiobook Adaptation
Depth of Characterization The printed version provides extensive character development through dialogue and internal monologue. The audiobook enhances the characterizations through expert narration, creating a deeper understanding of each character’s personality and motivations.
Emotional Investment The printed version features compelling characters but may not elicit as strong an emotional response as the audiobook. The audiobook engages listeners emotionally, creating a more immersive and memorable experience.
Understanding of Relationships The printed version is effective in portraying the relationships between characters, but may not provide as much detail as the audiobook. The audiobook enhances the understanding of relationships between characters through powerful narration and subtle vocal cues.

Overall, the audiobook adaptation of “Out” by Natsuo Kirino provides a masterful portrayal of the characters, elevating the novel to new heights of emotional depth and complexity.

Comparison to the Printed Version

For readers who are familiar with the printed version of “Out” by Natsuo Kirino, the audiobook adaptation may raise some questions. One key difference between the two formats is the experience of reading versus listening. While the printed version allows readers to control the pace, tone, and emphasis of the story, the audiobook places these elements in the hands of the narrator and production team.

Another major difference between the two versions is the ability to visualize the story. In the printed version, readers must rely on their own imagination to create mental images of the characters, setting, and plot. However, in the audiobook, the narration and voice acting provide a more concrete representation of these same elements.

Despite these differences, the “Out” audiobook adaptation remains faithful to the printed version of the story. The narration, pacing, and suspense elements closely mirror the original novel, while enhancing the sense of immersion through the audio format.

Overall, whether readers prefer the printed version or the audiobook adaptation of “Out” depends on their personal reading preferences. However, for those who enjoy gripping crime novels, both versions offer a thrilling and thought-provoking experience.


Overall, the “Out” audiobook by Natsuo Kirino provides a gripping listening experience for fans of crime novels. The narrator’s style and voice acting effectively bring the characters and story to life, while the production quality enhances the overall atmosphere and suspense.

The themes of crime and identity are explored in depth, and the plot twists keep listeners engaged until the very end. The pacing is well-balanced, with slower moments building towards intense action and revelations.

Character development is a strong suit of the audiobook, with the narrator’s portrayal adding complexity and depth to the characters’ motivations and journeys.

Compared to the printed version, the audiobook adaptation offers a unique listening experience that enhances the story’s immersive qualities.

We highly recommend the “Out” audiobook for listeners who enjoy atmospheric crime thrillers with compelling characters and plot twists.

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