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...
That's amazing--I"ve never heard of this book before, so I'll check it out at work today. And now it makes me wonder if this is more of her usual style, since her most recently translated book, Revenge, is all dark and creepy stories. This one sounds good and not so creepy that it'll keep me up at night.ReplyDelete
I feel like this rather than The Housekeeper and the Professor might be her usual style, which delights me because it is SO GOOD. It's definitely not creepy enough to keep you awake, but it's juuuust nasty enough that you feel very uneasy when you read it.Delete
I am so onboard for creepy and unsettling, and I never would've looked twice at this book if you hadn't performed the Herculean feat of reading a book from the library. I THANK YOU.ReplyDelete
YOU ARE SO WELCOME. I thank you for letting me try out my mind control skills on you. It appears they're still working!Delete
I need to find the Japanese version of this book (if it exists - sometimes short stories are published in completely different collections in Japan) and read it! I am being really REALLY BAD at reading in Japanese recently (even though I have a brand new Murakami short story collection!) so it might give me more motivation! Yayyy!ReplyDelete
Jennyyyy you should totally read this in Japanese and then report back on how much better it is in its original language. Because I'm sure that's true. OR just read it either way and thank me later for introducing you to it ;)Delete
LAURA PLEASE STOP ADDING OGAWA BOOKS TO MY WISHLIST THANKYOU. *I must not listen to the keening wail of my TBR pile, I must not listen to the keening wail of my TBR pile etc etc*ReplyDelete
You had me at "unsettling". Profound Japanese 'horror' stories? EVEN BETTER. Your reviews are the best and the worst because I'm like "yay! this book sounds super awesome" and then "noooooo I have to wait and find out what happens, you suuuuuck."ReplyDelete
I am INTERESTED. And also, I'm surprised that this collection is soooo much different than The Housekeeper.ReplyDelete
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