These days, it's pretty rare for me to read a book by the same author I read something by mere weeks ago, so I hope that alone makes it clear how much I like Yoko Ogawa. These days, it's also pretty rare for me to get a book from the library AND ACTUALLY READ IT, so this should also give you an indication of how much I like this woman. It's quite a lot, in case that wasn't clear.
There are three stories in the book, which isn't so many, so I'll talk about them all juuust a little bit. Prepare to be freaked out.
- The Diving Pool- Aya is a teenage girl who is desperately in love with her foster brother, in that obsessive way only teenage girls can be, but she also has a hidden darkness in her that comes from being her parents only biological child- she sees this as a disadvantage, because all of the children they foster, they chose. This feeling of inadequacy, along with her obsessive love, makes her do unforgivable things, and makes this an unforgettable story.
- Pregnancy Diary- The narrator of this story is keeping a diary of her sister's pregnancy, but it's not the sweet deed that it sounds like. She goes from disgust about what's happening to her sister, to an obsession with food when her sister has the most severe morning sickness I've ever heard of, and there's a definite feeling about all her narration that makes it seem like she doesn't really know how to relate to other people properly. This is less outwardly horrible than The Diving Pool, but in a way, that makes it worse because the tension and darkness is all simmering away just under the surface. Nasty stuff.
- Dormitory- This is perhaps the most like The Housekeeper and the Professor, in that it centres on an unconventional relationship, but there's still definitely a sinister undertone to proceedings. The friendship at its heart is very touching, the suggestion of dark obsessions is pretty chilling. It's good, is what I'm saying.
And that's pretty much it! Dark obsessions and less than stellar people, that's what you'll get from The Diving Pool, along with stories gripping enough that they'll stay with you long enough for you to review them on your blog, at least! Which is a big ask for me, these days...