Real World by Natsuo Kirino – 2003
I remember reading this several years ago and thinking that I really had to hunt out more work by this author, because right from its strikingly sparse front cover, Real World is a terrific and gripping read. I had every intention of going through Kirino’s back catalogue, but I’ve never actually got around to doing it.
Real World is a fast paced thriller about four teenage girls who unwittingly become involved in the murder of a neighbour… along with the teenage boy whom they suspect of committing the crime. The unique selling point of the novel is that the story is told from multiple perspectives, as each of the major characters is afforded at least one lengthy chapter, which adds (literally) a different view to proceedings and affects the way the novel plays out.
Real World is a relatively short novel that has been translated from its original Japanese, something that had the potential to be problematic, but I can’t say I remember there being any issues. The translation is clean (for the most part) and any awkward phrases that may exist don’t spoil the flow at all.