Summer heat, smog, and the pressures of contemporary youth in Japan provide a gritty backdrop for Natsuo Kirino’s feminist crime noir. Toshi Yamanaka awakens to what she later discovers is the murder of her next-door neighbor by the woman’s teenage son. When the boy steals Toshi’s phone and begins calling her friends, the girls become embroiled in his getaway through an escalating series of bad decisions. Real World is a disturbing portrait of angst and emotion so intense that the characters seek even the horrific to provide release. Winner of several premier literary awards in Japan, Kirino offers a chilling extreme in tales of disaffected youth.