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Schwimmbad im Regen

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Schwimmbad im Regen vereint drei preisgekrönte Erzählungen, mit denen Yoko Ogawa in Japan den literarischen Durchbruch schaffte. Heute zählt sie in ihrem Heimatland zu den wichtigsten Autorinnen ihrer Generation. Mit ihrer präzisen, subtilen Sprache schafft Yoko Ogawa Welten zwischen Realität und Imagination, die von beunruhigender Fremdartigkeit sind und voller naiver Gew Schwimmbad im Regen vereint drei preisgekrönte Erzählungen, mit denen Yoko Ogawa in Japan den literarischen Durchbruch schaffte. Heute zählt sie in ihrem Heimatland zu den wichtigsten Autorinnen ihrer Generation. Mit ihrer präzisen, subtilen Sprache schafft Yoko Ogawa Welten zwischen Realität und Imagination, die von beunruhigender Fremdartigkeit sind und voller naiver Gewalt. Eine junge Frau bringt ihren Cousin in einem Studentenwohnheim unter. In der Folgezeit versucht sie vergeblich, ihn dort anzutreffen. Vom Hausmeister erfährt sie, dass die übrigen Studenten das Heim meiden, seitdem einer ihrer Kommilitonen unter mysteriösen Umständen verschwunden ist. Ein Mädchen leidet unter den Allüren, dem Heißhunger und den Übelkeitsanfällen ihrer schwangeren Schwester. Als sie eines Tages eine Tüte mit pestizidbehandelten Grapefruits geschenkt bekommt, beschließt sie, für ihre Schwester aus den Früchten Marmelade zu kochen. Der Anblick einer Schulküche in der Abenddämmerung erinnert einen Mann daran, wie er als Kind in der Schule schwimmen lernte. Immer wenn es regnete, hatte er den Eindruck, als wimmelte es im Becken von zahllosen kleinen Fischen, die gierig nach ihm schnappten ...


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Schwimmbad im Regen vereint drei preisgekrönte Erzählungen, mit denen Yoko Ogawa in Japan den literarischen Durchbruch schaffte. Heute zählt sie in ihrem Heimatland zu den wichtigsten Autorinnen ihrer Generation. Mit ihrer präzisen, subtilen Sprache schafft Yoko Ogawa Welten zwischen Realität und Imagination, die von beunruhigender Fremdartigkeit sind und voller naiver Gew Schwimmbad im Regen vereint drei preisgekrönte Erzählungen, mit denen Yoko Ogawa in Japan den literarischen Durchbruch schaffte. Heute zählt sie in ihrem Heimatland zu den wichtigsten Autorinnen ihrer Generation. Mit ihrer präzisen, subtilen Sprache schafft Yoko Ogawa Welten zwischen Realität und Imagination, die von beunruhigender Fremdartigkeit sind und voller naiver Gewalt. Eine junge Frau bringt ihren Cousin in einem Studentenwohnheim unter. In der Folgezeit versucht sie vergeblich, ihn dort anzutreffen. Vom Hausmeister erfährt sie, dass die übrigen Studenten das Heim meiden, seitdem einer ihrer Kommilitonen unter mysteriösen Umständen verschwunden ist. Ein Mädchen leidet unter den Allüren, dem Heißhunger und den Übelkeitsanfällen ihrer schwangeren Schwester. Als sie eines Tages eine Tüte mit pestizidbehandelten Grapefruits geschenkt bekommt, beschließt sie, für ihre Schwester aus den Früchten Marmelade zu kochen. Der Anblick einer Schulküche in der Abenddämmerung erinnert einen Mann daran, wie er als Kind in der Schule schwimmen lernte. Immer wenn es regnete, hatte er den Eindruck, als wimmelte es im Becken von zahllosen kleinen Fischen, die gierig nach ihm schnappten ...

30 review for Schwimmbad im Regen

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paquita Maria Sanchez

    Okay, a few things are definitely going on here, and I'm happy to clear up the confusion for anyone who may not have my depth and breadth of knowledge on the subject. People are crazy or sane, things are happening or not happening, supporting characters are flesh and blood or mental constructs, and there's honey. Or blood. A body or a beehive. Okay? You're welcome. As you can see, I actually had no idea what was real at least half the time while reading this, but I love it. I like the sparse pros Okay, a few things are definitely going on here, and I'm happy to clear up the confusion for anyone who may not have my depth and breadth of knowledge on the subject. People are crazy or sane, things are happening or not happening, supporting characters are flesh and blood or mental constructs, and there's honey. Or blood. A body or a beehive. Okay? You're welcome. As you can see, I actually had no idea what was real at least half the time while reading this, but I love it. I like the sparse prose, the often stoic characters, the subtle psychopathy, the constant droning sounds pulling the nerves slow-mo taut, and the overwhelming creepiness spun out of totally mundane and few threads. The Japanese are apparently just forevergood at churning up sinister moods out of teapots, flowerbeds, and grapefruit jam. How do they do it? Well, I guess when your country is about 75% mountainous terrain and you have the 10th highest population in the world, you sorta have to embrace the utilitarian spirit, and it spills over into so much of their artistic expression that isn't, like, Hentai or Harajuku street fashion. No matter how much I love a good verbosity vomit, I am still like a little kid seeing bubbles for the first time with the wonder and the drooly-mouth and the dumb, big-eyed stare at how emotionally manipulated a reader can be even despite so many self-imposed constraints on the part of the author. Don't say much, but say everything, never clearly, using clear-cut imagery. So, yes I did just say and mean all of that, but the first story, for which the collection is named, is also both my favorite of the three and the most straightforward, narratively-speaking. I wish it had been approximately five berzmpillion pages longer. I mean, it definitely manages everything it sets out to do within the short space it occupies on the page, but it's just a terrible and beautiful world that I was sad to leave. On the surface, it's a simple love story, but a twisted one, in which a dour, sadistic pessimist of a young girl falls for her clean as the driven snow foster-brother, and expresses it through various acts of cruelty toward a toddler. Yeah. She simultaneously esteems her brother's good nature, and is deeply wounded by how little of it she can see in herself. It's this that she craves from him, like he could somehow flush her spirit clean with his peeny-fluids. At the same time, she appears to see herself as a necessary counter-balance, like reveling in her own vile nature by debasing herself and others serves to accentuate the things she finds most beautiful about him, to reaffirm and then cast a spotlight on them. Yes, there are also some elements of simple sexual frustration in her tortures, but you could Freud some sex into just about anything, and it would be insulting to the nuances of this story to neatly call it just that and wipe your hands of everything else that's going on here. I mean, I'm definitely familiar with self-destructive, doom-y feelings with friends and lovers of "if you only knew, and oh boy, when you do find out..." I know what it's like to feel like your soul is a wolf in sheep's clothing, and that if mind-reading existed, you'd be deservedly all alone in the universe. That is going on here, along with some other stuff. And it's pretty heartbreaking. Pregnancy Diary is a little more ambiguous in nature, though on the surface it is just what it says: a dated diary of a woman's pregnancy, as seen from the cold, almost clinical perspective of her sister-slash-roommate. This one goes into the way a person can begin to feel burdened and worn down by another person's proximate suffering, to feel hostile toward someone for something they cannot help simply because it's inconveniencing you in some minor way. Here, it is pushed beyond irritation to covert retaliation, as the narrator, after enduring the stormy moods and demands made by a particularly lengthy, grueling bout of morning sickness, embraces her sister's late-term, voracious appetite in order to overfeed her pot after pot of sugary jam made from imported fruits which are potentially developmentally harmful to the fetus. Her actions are so calculated yet robotic, almost as if even she doesn't realize why she's doing what she's doing except in a subconscious way, but still goes about it mechanically and compulsively. This one's twisted like all the rest, yet one of the two that have a debatable basis in reality. The final story, The Dormitory, is definitely the most head-scratching of the bunch. I went looking around for some explanations as to what the hell might be going on here, but it appears that at least the English-speaking world is at a bit of a loss across the board. A woman helps her young cousin get a room at her former dormhouse, and begins to visit the triple-amputee who manages the property. One boy had vanished from the dorm during the prior academic term, just as her own relative drops out of the story inexplicably. Do I know whether the amputee is really there, or if she's actually talking to him, or if her cousin exists, or existed and is dead, or is really on a trip as the amputee says? Do I know what the ending means? Fuck no, I don't. However, I do know that, open to interpretation as it may be, it is an eerie and engaging look inside a mind undone by the tedium of housewife life, and the tick-tick-tick of time. Can we just call it a Japanese Yellow Wallpaper while leaving room for additional interpretations? Sorry, that's all I've got. It's totally worth a read if you don't mind stories without neat endings, or any real sense of closure, pretty much at all. This book is so entrancing, seriously. People who say everything that needs to be said has already been said are full of shit, and need to read more tight, minimalist Japanese literature. You know what they say: when life hands you lemons, make a psychological horror story about slowly, calculatedly poisoning your sister's baby with them.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    The three stories in this collection are disturbing, warped and lovely. Unlike with some collections, the stories seem to belong together and are placed in a chronological fashion, by age of the the first-person female narrator (though they are not the same person): from a young teenage girl to a college-aged woman with a part-time job to a young wife. The stories are told in deceptively simple prose that keeps you thinking for a long time afterward. There are thematic and symbolic strains: of me The three stories in this collection are disturbing, warped and lovely. Unlike with some collections, the stories seem to belong together and are placed in a chronological fashion, by age of the the first-person female narrator (though they are not the same person): from a young teenage girl to a college-aged woman with a part-time job to a young wife. The stories are told in deceptively simple prose that keeps you thinking for a long time afterward. There are thematic and symbolic strains: of memory (a sort of nostalgia?), the outward crumbling of buildings (reflecting what is within the narrators?) and the unease associated with the roles of females (including, in the first two stories, the relationship of unmarried young women to babies not their own; and, in the last, an almost passive-aggressive rebellion of a wife toward her husband). 'Irreconcilable' is a word that is used in more than one story. The last story, "Dormitory," shares several similarities with “Old Mrs. J," a story in Ogawa's collection unfortunately titled in English Revenge (I think the Japanese title fits much better). "Dormitory" escalates the tension so effectively that it had me believing something I didn't think I should and then when I did come to believe it and was proven wrong, I felt almost obliged to laugh at myself.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    Well, if I ever want acid indigestion, I know just the book to turn to. I've been very lucky this past year with contemporary Japanese authors, and Yoko Ogawa has been one of the top on that list. This novella features three standalone stories, all united by recurring themes. In each story, the main characters assume the role of the incongruous outsider, distant and apathetic, but frothing underneath with violent undercurrents of obsession and desire. Perhaps most significantly, these outsiders Well, if I ever want acid indigestion, I know just the book to turn to. I've been very lucky this past year with contemporary Japanese authors, and Yoko Ogawa has been one of the top on that list. This novella features three standalone stories, all united by recurring themes. In each story, the main characters assume the role of the incongruous outsider, distant and apathetic, but frothing underneath with violent undercurrents of obsession and desire. Perhaps most significantly, these outsiders are all female, each seeking companionship but falling just short of getting it. Isolation is a running thread in the three stories, and it is through the lens of isolation that Yoko Ogawa warps each protagonist's view of her world. Beauty is perverted into revulsion. The human aesthetic is reduced to a scientific specimen. Repressed sexual desire, oftentimes misplaced or unrequited, is expressed through sadism and abuse. The most compelling aspect of this novella was just how capable of casual cruelty we are in everyday life, particularly in the first two stories, and how powerful and maddening isolation can become. I planned on finishing this book in one or two sittings because of its relatively short length. But after reading the unsettling, mind bending first story that was The Diving Pool, also the title of the book, I realized I could only take this book in bite-sized pieces (and if you’ve read The Diving Pool, you’ll know how ironic that statement is). THE DIVING POOL After reading this story, I just wanted to curl up in a fetal position and rock back and forth. I actually had to set this book down a few times after reading some particularly disturbing passages. Out narrator is Aya, the daughter of a husband and wife who run an orphanage. Despite being her parent’s sole biological child, Aya is still treated like an orphan, exacerbating her feelings of displacement and isolation. Aya’s one comfort is secretly watching Jun, her foster brother, dive at the local pool and reveling in his sleek physique and elegant form. However, as Jun is technically Aya’s “brother” and her increasingly obsessive feelings can never be requited, Aya alleviates her emotional frustrations in sadistic and grotesque ways. What struck me most about this story was how seamlessly the author wove cruelty into the narrative. It seemed almost like a natural human reaction simply because of its selfishness and the longing that drove it. This was a gem of a story, albeit a haunting and disturbing one. Story rating: 5/5 THE PREGNANCY DIARIES While The Diving Pool revolves around the psychological workings of a young girl, this story draws inspiration from physical, commonplace things like pregnancy, ultrasound imaging, and food. However, despite its reliance on the physical world, the story has a surreal quality about it, as if it were a dream laced with nightmares. Similar to The Diving Pool, the protagonist is a cool, detached woman who lives with her pregnant sister and brother-in-law. Already the proverbial third wheel, the narrator further emphasizes her alienation in her journal entries that detail the progress of her sister’s pregnancy. But rather than the musings of a concerned sibling, the entries have a cold, stilted quality that tips off that reduces pregnancy into something repulsive and gluttonous. One of the ways the narrator does this is through her descriptions of food. Food is never just food. It is in turns fragrant and tasty, slimy and revolting, poisonous and corruptive. The narrator’s pregnant sister goes so far as comparing noodles to tiny intestinal tracts. Like Aya in the previous story, the narrator never expresses her emotions outright, but the darkness of her observations hint at a boiling resentment. Again, cruelty sinks into the narrative like a subtle poison. It’s a disorienting feeling, one that keeps you on the edge of your toes in expectation of the dire consequences such resentment can bring about. Story rating: 4.5/5 DORMITORY I’d have to say Dormitory was the least surreal of the three, and while the theme of isolation permeates the story, the main conflict resolves itself very differently. Again, the main character is a woman. While waiting for her husband to call her to Sweden, she remains in Japan to pack and settle their affairs before she leaves the country. When she gets a request from her cousin to find housing, however, the woman recommends him to live in an old dormitory run by a paraplegic man, a place in which she had lived years earlier. The story quickly morphs into something resembling a mystery at the dormitory as the woman increasingly shuts out her distant husband and focuses more on her young cousin. Unlike the previous two stories, there are barely any mentions of food or graphic cruelty. The outer layer of the story is a murder mystery in a strange, offbeat environment. But Yoko Ogawa flips the murder mystery genre on its head at the very last page, instead posing questions about the nature of self and its lonely drive toward madness. Though the least shocking and toned down, I thought this was probably the most carefully crafted story of the three. Story rating: 5/5 Overall, these stories were not comfortable reads. But they have a strange and disturbing pull, an elegant allure that does not let you look away. Despite my own fanfare, I hesitate to recommend this book to everyone just because of its subject matter and the bizarre circumstances in which certain topics are addressed. However, if you’re in the mood for something that will disturb and shock you from your daily routine, definitely think about reading this book. 5 STARS AND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, though with reservations.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Marwa Mohamed

    تدور أحداث القصة عن ابنة مدير لإحدى دور الأيتام تعيش حياتها اليومية مع أولاد المؤسسة، كأنها هي أيضاً يتيمة مثلهم وليس لديها أسرة، تمضي أوقاتها حول متعتين تستعين بهما على تعويض الفراغ الذي يسيطير علي حياتها وهو مراقبة مراهق خلال تمارينه على رياضة الغطس في حوض السباحة، والتنمر علي طفلة لم يتجاوز عمرها عاماً ونصف. • أنها قصة صغيرة من الأدب الياباني الذي لم يخيب ظني أبدًا ، لكن مع الأسف هذه المره خاب ظني قليلًا ، القصة في بدايتها كانت ممله جدًا ، علي الرغم من ذلك أسلوب الكاتبة في وصف المشاهد رائع جدًا تدور أحداث القصة عن ابنة مدير لإحدى دور الأيتام تعيش حياتها اليومية مع أولاد المؤسسة، كأنها هي أيضاً يتيمة مثلهم وليس لديها أسرة، تمضي أوقاتها حول متعتين تستعين بهما على تعويض الفراغ الذي يسيطير علي حياتها وهو مراقبة مراهق خلال تمارينه على رياضة الغطس في حوض السباحة، والتنمر علي طفلة لم يتجاوز عمرها عاماً ونصف. • أنها قصة صغيرة من الأدب الياباني الذي لم يخيب ظني أبدًا ، لكن مع الأسف هذه المره خاب ظني قليلًا ، القصة في بدايتها كانت ممله جدًا ، علي الرغم من ذلك أسلوب الكاتبة في وصف المشاهد رائع جدًا فهي تصف بأسهاب رائع ومتميز المكان والوقت والطقس ، عندما تقرأ تلك النوفيلا سوف يثير أشمئزازك جدًا تصرفات بطلتها التي تستمع جدًا بالتنمر علي طفلة صغيرة والأستمتاع ببكائها . هذة النوفيلا تصور النفس البشرية بما تعانيه من أمراض نفسية وتفكير سئ وظلام داخلي . رواية صغيرة لكنها كانت مملة بعض الشئ رغم طرحها وفكرتها الغريبة .

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kaya

    Despite the fact I find Asian literature a bit unconventional, the more I read it, the more I like it. This book is no exception. It has it all - melancholy, questionable behaviour and obsession. I've read it in one sitting, it really is fast-paced, but it's not for everyone. This is a collection of three short stories that are really dark. You're never sure whether the story will turn into tragedy or resolve safely. Or even if it will resolve at all. The characters walk on thin line between luc Despite the fact I find Asian literature a bit unconventional, the more I read it, the more I like it. This book is no exception. It has it all - melancholy, questionable behaviour and obsession. I've read it in one sitting, it really is fast-paced, but it's not for everyone. This is a collection of three short stories that are really dark. You're never sure whether the story will turn into tragedy or resolve safely. Or even if it will resolve at all. The characters walk on thin line between lucidness and madness. Stories are chilling, creepy and shocking. Cruelty of the characters is hidden inside compassion, politeness and innocence. The Diving Pool 4 stars Aya is obsessed with her younger foster brother Jun. Her parents run a home for orphans and abandoned children. Jun is a diver, and Aya loves to watch him from the corners and shadows, torn between desire to stay hidden and desire to be seen by him. This story is my favorite of the three, because it's the most straightforward. This is a twisted love story, which is expressed through various acts of cruelty towards a toddler. The story ends with a bit of a twist. The Pregnancy Diaries 3 stars The descriptions of the morning sickness and cravings of pregnancy were twisted a bit. Nameless narrator lives with pregnant sister and her husband and their life revolves food. Emotionally detached narrator is present again. When the narrator’s sister recovers from several months of early pregnancy nausea, the narrator sadistically begins feeding her with grapefruit jam made from imported fruits which are potentially harmful to the fetus. Her actions are so calculated and subconscious almost as if she doesn't realize what she's doing. Instead of feeling excitement or even slight empathy for her sister, she feels disgusted by the pregnancy progress. The way it’s written, it feels like pregnancy is something dirty and repulsive. Dormitory 2.5 stars Another nameless narrator helps her young cousin secure a room in her old college dormitory. She begins to visit the triple-amputee who manages the property. It has a questionable ending I do not understand nor I like.There is reason that dormity was completely empty, ugh.

  6. 5 out of 5

    mai ahmd

    عُرف عن أوغارا شفافيتها المطلقة وحساسيتها في الكتابة وأظن أن الأدب الياباني بشكل عام يتسم بهذه السمة ..القصة تدور حول إبنة مدير دار الأيتام والتي عاشت طفولتها ومراهقتها في الميتم حتى اختفى شعورها بالانتماء نحو أسرة وأصبح المسيطر عليها الشعور باليُتم كحال كل المتواجدين فيه تستطيع أن تفكر كيف أن شابة في مقتبل العمر خالية من أية طموحات تستطيع أن تقضي الجزء الأهم من عمرها في مكان كهذا ! سنوات المراهقة ! والتي تدفع من يمر بها للتفكير في بعض الأمور الغريبة البحث عن متعة في ميتم ! تبدو قضية ! هذه المراهقة عُرف عن أوغارا شفافيتها المطلقة وحساسيتها في الكتابة وأظن أن الأدب الياباني بشكل عام يتسم بهذه السمة ..القصة تدور حول إبنة مدير دار الأيتام والتي عاشت طفولتها ومراهقتها في الميتم حتى اختفى شعورها بالانتماء نحو أسرة وأصبح المسيطر عليها الشعور باليُتم كحال كل المتواجدين فيه تستطيع أن تفكر كيف أن شابة في مقتبل العمر خالية من أية طموحات تستطيع أن تقضي الجزء الأهم من عمرها في مكان كهذا ! سنوات المراهقة ! والتي تدفع من يمر بها للتفكير في بعض الأمور الغريبة البحث عن متعة في ميتم ! تبدو قضية ! هذه المراهقة لم يكن لديها سوى متعتان متناقضتان تماما بين عشقها لجسد أحد المنتمين للمكان والتي دفعتها لمراقبته وهو يمارس هوايته السباحة فتهيم في هوى كتفه الأيمن ،عضلاته , انحناءات الجسد , الارتطام بالماء وغيره وما بين رغبة شديدة في الإيذاء والتي فرغتها بطريقتها الخاصة وكانت ضحيتها طفلة بريئة لا تقل عن الخامسة من العمر أسلوب أوغارا مذهل ومشوق وطريقتها في وصف جسد زميلها المراهق والذي ينطوي على رغبات مكبوتة على الجانب الآخر كانت يوكو أوغارا بارعة في إظهار براءة الشخصية والتي تخفي كمية مهولة من الشر ولكن على حسب ما تقتضيه أحداث الرواية الرواية حافلة بالمشاهد الجميلة باللغة الشعرية المكثفة أسلوب رقيق شفاف

  7. 4 out of 5

    David

    I think she should have made a novel from "The Diving Pool". I thoroughly enjoyed our hero empowering herself and expressing love through brutal cruelty to another: "Rie's terrified tears were particularly satisfying, like hands caressing me in exactly the right places – not vague, imaginary hands but his hands, the ones I was sure would know just how to please me." Yikes, huh? "Pregnancy Diary" - Eerie. Weird. More of Ogawa's nourishing cruelty. "Dormitory" - Again, cruelty in place of communicat I think she should have made a novel from "The Diving Pool". I thoroughly enjoyed our hero empowering herself and expressing love through brutal cruelty to another: "Rie's terrified tears were particularly satisfying, like hands caressing me in exactly the right places – not vague, imaginary hands but his hands, the ones I was sure would know just how to please me." Yikes, huh? "Pregnancy Diary" - Eerie. Weird. More of Ogawa's nourishing cruelty. "Dormitory" - Again, cruelty in place of communication. Loved it. Fabulous ending, read the last pages four times. "It occurred to me that he was young to have lost so many important things: his chicken, his girl, his father."

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    Last year, I read Yoko Ogawa’s newest collection, Revenge – spare and unsettling tales of emotionally damaged individuals that contrast elegant prose with often bizarre situations. The Diving Pool, written nearly a quarter century earlier, provides a context for Ms. Ogawa’s trajectory as a writer. It offers three novellas that start out gently and gradually build in intensity while maintaining their dreamlike state. In the first, a truculent teen named Aya is obsessed with her younger foster broth Last year, I read Yoko Ogawa’s newest collection, Revenge – spare and unsettling tales of emotionally damaged individuals that contrast elegant prose with often bizarre situations. The Diving Pool, written nearly a quarter century earlier, provides a context for Ms. Ogawa’s trajectory as a writer. It offers three novellas that start out gently and gradually build in intensity while maintaining their dreamlike state. In the first, a truculent teen named Aya is obsessed with her younger foster brother, Jun, a diver. As the “only child who is not an orphan” in the orphanage run by her sanctimonious parents, Aya is teeming with resentment…which eventually plays out in near-tragic cruelty to a little girl. Aya is eventually deprived of the illusion of Jun’s comfort: “If he had attacked me outright, I might have been able to defend myself. Instead, he exposed my secret as if offering himself to me.” Pregnancy Diary, the second of the three, also presents an emotionally detached narrator (as do many of the tales in Revenge). Like the stories in Revenge, food is focal point. When the unnamed narrator’s sister recovers from several months of early pregnancy nausea, the narrator sadistically begins feeding her sister huge quantities of grapefruit jam. “She ate spoonful after spoonful. Her protruding belly made her look almost arrogant as she stood there by the stove, pouring the sticky globs of fruit down her throat. As I studies the last puddles of jam trembling slightly at the bottom of the pan, I wondered whether PWH could really destroy chromosomes.” Lastly, in Dormitory, a wife – who will soon be joining her husband in Sweden – helps her young out-of-town cousin secure a room in her old college dormitory. There she becomes reacquainted with the manager, a dying triple amputee with one leg. As she becomes drawn into his mad world, the nightmare begins to engulf her. These novellas are haunting and certainly set the stage for Yoko Ogawa’s later work with three alienated “watchers” whose emotions simmer beneath the surface.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Calzean

    Ogawa writes tightly and draws you into her stories. I think the meaning between these stories would probably be best debated by those studying Japanese literature. Each of these three novellas put their characters in a pendulum of normality and evil. In "The Diving Pool" the teenage narrator lives in an orphanage run by her parents. She is infatuated with a long term resident who dives in the local pool. She also has an evil side when dealing with the youngest resident. In "Pregnancy Diary" a youn Ogawa writes tightly and draws you into her stories. I think the meaning between these stories would probably be best debated by those studying Japanese literature. Each of these three novellas put their characters in a pendulum of normality and evil. In "The Diving Pool" the teenage narrator lives in an orphanage run by her parents. She is infatuated with a long term resident who dives in the local pool. She also has an evil side when dealing with the youngest resident. In "Pregnancy Diary" a young woman records her sister's pregnancy. The narrator seems aloof and stoic about the pregnancy but her evil is shown through providing food including an overdose of toxic grapefruit. The last story is a bit more confusing. A young woman returns to her dormitory where she lived during her uni days. On the surface all is well but there is a aura of madness. I am not sure what the ending is about.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Odai Al-Saeed

    ليس هناك الكثير ليذكر وقد تروق الرواية للبعض الآخر الروائية اليابانية إشتهرت بذلك النمط القصير من الروايات الذي يعتمد بشكل كبير على الحساسية المفرطة من خلال الأحداث البسيطة ويشابهها في ذلك الكثير من الكتاب اليابانيين كونه أسلوب حياة نمطي يستدعي اللجوء لهكذا حالة لذا حالة من الرتم الإيقاعي البطيئ تستدرجك للتأمل بأسلوب خاص لا يمكن أن ترتجي منه إثارة وأحداث بسيطة تغزل سرد منغمس بالمشاعر الغريبة البسيطة ...جيدة

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mashael Alamri

    في تلك البقعة المنزوية داخل المقهى الصغير، جلست تتأملُ الكتاب في يديها وغلافه الذي يشعلُ الفضول فيها (حوض السِّباحة) تتساءل هل أحسنت الاختيار؟. حوض السِّباحة، تسأل نفسها، هل سأغرق هل سأبتل هل سأسبح؟. في حروف هذا الكتاب وبين فواصله بين انعطافات أفكاره و بعد نقاط التوقف فيه، قبل أن تلتهم صفحاته مع قهوتها جالت نظراتها في ما حولها لغات غريبة عنها وأخرى ألفتها تستمع لأحاديث اعتلت الأصوات فيها انفعالاً، أو إلى ضحكات هاربة من أفواه صبايا التقطت أذنها حوار دار على بعد بضع خطوات منها , في المقعد القريب في تلك البقعة المنزوية داخل المقهى الصغير، جلست تتأملُ الكتاب في يديها وغلافه الذي يشعلُ الفضول فيها (حوض السِّباحة) تتساءل هل أحسنت الاختيار؟. حوض السِّباحة، تسأل نفسها، هل سأغرق هل سأبتل هل سأسبح؟. في حروف هذا الكتاب وبين فواصله بين انعطافات أفكاره و بعد نقاط التوقف فيه، قبل أن تلتهم صفحاته مع قهوتها جالت نظراتها في ما حولها لغات غريبة عنها وأخرى ألفتها تستمع لأحاديث اعتلت الأصوات فيها انفعالاً، أو إلى ضحكات هاربة من أفواه صبايا التقطت أذنها حوار دار على بعد بضع خطوات منها , في المقعد القريب منها إحداهن تتحدث بشيء من التوتر : - Oh John , tell me did you say that ? , oh I can’t believe it. ويرد عليها الرجل المحدق بها ببلاهه : Oh again you just want to fight. تلتفت للجهة المقابلة هناك من يناقش مشاكل العمل بالهاتف وهناك امرأة تتحدث بشيء من الهمس بهاتفها، لم تحس بــالنادل الذي يقف على رأسها إلا حينما مد لها القائمة وهو يبتسم : -Welcome قالت له وهي تعيد القائمة دون أن تتصفحها : - Black coffee with caramel, please - ok ,what else? - thats it. تبسط الكتاب القابع بين يديها تلاحظ كيف أنه انطوى مثل أسطوانة بفعل قبضتها المشدودة عليه منذ دقائق، جون يقف على حافة الحوض و تلك التي تجلس لتمارس سرها الجميل التجسس عليه وقت التدريب تلتهمه بنظراتها وهو يخترق الماء مخلفا ثقب دائري يهتز على إثره سطحه وما يلبث أن يلتئم هذا الثقب، تتخيل كيف هي شقلباته التي تفتنها تحت الماء كيف أن عضلات جسده القوي تغلفها المياه وتتخيّل أيضاً تكوره وهو قريب من أرض المسبح ودفعه القاع بقوة ليخترق الماء مره أخرى كاشفاً عن وجهه ومخلفاً دوائر أخرى تصغر شيئاً فشئياً, سطح المسبح المرتجف يشبه بحركته المتموجة قلب خائف , الخوف يحرك قلوبنا عدداً لانهائياً من الحركات ويثور فجأة ذاك المرتجف إذا مااقتحم شيئ ماشخص ما , سطحه بقوة حنان ونقاء مفرط على حواف حوض السِّباحة وعلى سطح الماء وبين رذاذه المتفجر بعد قفزة جون تقابلها رغبة في القسوة والإنتقام داخل الميتم، وابتكار طرق جديدة من أجل رؤية عذابات طفلة تلتفت يمنة ويسرة تلتقط كل شي صغير ملقى بلا إهتمام، يوكو اوغاوا وكما في "غرفة مثالية لرجل مريض" تتحدث عن الأيتام وعن أبناء المسؤولين عن هذه الدور، كيف توحي لهم المساواة بينهم وبين أيتام الدار إلى الشعور باليتم الحقيقي والإحساس بالوحدة والعزلة التي يشعر بها الأيتام الذين افاقوا على حقيقة أن لا أحد تعنيه حياتهم، وكيف يجاهدون مهذبين تصرفاتهم حتى تتبناهم إحدى العائلات، ليشعرون بالدفء الأسري بشكل واقعي، ولكن ماذا عن المتعذبين لأنهم ومهما حاولوا لن يحصلوا على فرصة للخروج من جو الميتم لأنهم أيتام في نمط العيش الذي إختارته لهم عائلاتهم، الذين إتسعت قلوبهم لآلام الأيتام، لكنها أبداً لم تستطع أن تفسح لهم مجالاً في داخلها. ي وكو تكتب مسلطة الضوء على النقاط التي تريد من القاريء أن يركز عليها وكما في غرفة مثالية عرفت كيف تجعلنا نحس بإشعاع اللون الابيض ينبثق من بين السطور، هنا وبعد هذه الرواية شعرت بأن الكون له رائحة كلور المسبح لون الماء الشفاف وبأن رذاذ الماء يبلل شفتيّها، أحسستُ بالعطش أغلقتُ الكتاب أفكرُ بالثمانين صفحة التي قرأتها بإهتمام بالشخصيات التي تتصرف دوماً في الروايات اليابانية وكأنها لا تعني ما تقوم به أو تقوله، الشخصيات التي تتحدث إلى نفسها بشيء وتتصرف على نحو مغاير تماماً وعن يوكو كيف تكتب بطريقة خفيفة آسرة وكيف تكشف بذات الطريقة أغوار نفسيات شخصياتها هي تكتب بإحساس كبير ورواياتها القصيرة تشد القاريء، لا تجعل متسعاً للعقل بأن يفكر بشيء غير ماتريدنا هي أن نفكر به.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rina Suryakusuma

    Three novellas and I found it quite disturbing The diving pool, Pregnancy diary dan Dormitory Ketiganya bukan jenis cerita yang meledak-ledak Sebaliknya, mengalir tenang Tapi di balik setiap katanya, ada horor yang mencekam Dan saya pikir jenis yang ini lebih meninggalkan bekas The diving pool diceritakan dari seorang Aya, gadis yang tinggal di rumah yatim piatu, tapi bukan yatim piatu Ia memiliki ketertarikan kuat dengan saudara angkatnya Jun Kemudian di balik narasinya, ia memiliki kekejaman tersendi Three novellas and I found it quite disturbing The diving pool, Pregnancy diary dan Dormitory Ketiganya bukan jenis cerita yang meledak-ledak Sebaliknya, mengalir tenang Tapi di balik setiap katanya, ada horor yang mencekam Dan saya pikir jenis yang ini lebih meninggalkan bekas The diving pool diceritakan dari seorang Aya, gadis yang tinggal di rumah yatim piatu, tapi bukan yatim piatu Ia memiliki ketertarikan kuat dengan saudara angkatnya Jun Kemudian di balik narasinya, ia memiliki kekejaman tersendiri pada salah satu anak yatim piatu yang lain, Rie, yang baru berusia setahun lebih, yang sulit untuk saya tuliskan Endingnya realistis Tapi tidak diceritakan lebih lanjut apa yang terjadi Pregnancy diary bercerita tentang dua orang saudari, yang satu sedang hamil, dan cerita ini dinarasikan dari saudari yang seorang lagi, yang tidak hamil Ia menuliskan tahap kehamilan mulai dari morning sickness, sampai obsesi saudarinya pada grapefruit jam Jadi si narrator selalu membuat selai yang sama, yang selalu disantap oleh saudarinya dengan lahap… lalu selanjutnya… sebaiknya dibaca sendiri Hanya saja mengerikan untuk membaca hal sekejam itu sengaja dilakukan pada seorang wanita hamil Endingnya juga yah… berhenti begitu saja Lalu yang ketiga, paling absurd sih buat saya Dormitory bercerita tentang seorang wanita yang dihampiri oleh sepupunya untuk mencari tempat tinggal, dan dianjurkan untuk tinggal di dalam dorm tempat wanita itu dulu pernah tinggal Pernah ada kejadian anak lelaki yang hilang. Lalu setiap kali si wanita berkunjung, dia tak pernah bertemu sepupunya Hanya ada si Manager yang mengurus dorm itu dan selalu bilang si sepupu pergi Untuk saya, ending cerita ini paling gagal paham Tapi pada akhirnya saya menyematkan 4 bintang karena walaupun bukan jenis cerita yang light seperti yang biasa saya sukai, bahkan di novella terakhir saya juga nggak mengerti, ada gema tersendiri setelah saya menamatkan novella demi novella di novel ini Just read it and I think you’d know what I mean :)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

    The Diving Pool, a collection of three novellas, is the only outstanding work of Yoko Ogawa's which is currently available in English, which I had not yet read.  Although a prolific author, very few of Ogawa's works are available in English at present, and I can only hope that this is rectified in the near future.  I find Ogawa's fiction entirely beguiling; it is strange, chilling, surprising, and oh so memorable.  This collection has been translated from the original Japanese by Stephen Snyder. The Diving Pool, a collection of three novellas, is the only outstanding work of Yoko Ogawa's which is currently available in English, which I had not yet read.  Although a prolific author, very few of Ogawa's works are available in English at present, and I can only hope that this is rectified in the near future.  I find Ogawa's fiction entirely beguiling; it is strange, chilling, surprising, and oh so memorable.  This collection has been translated from the original Japanese by Stephen Snyder. The Guardian calls this tome 'Profoundly unsettling, magnificently written', and believes Ogawa to be 'one of Japan's greatest living writers.'  The Daily Telegraph writes that Ogawa 'invests the most banal domestic situations with a chilling and malevolent sense of perversity, marking her out as a master of subtle psychological horror.'  This collection, promises its blurb, is 'beautiful, twisted and brilliant.' The Diving Pool includes the titular story, as well as 'Pregnancy Diary' and 'Dormitory'.  They were originally written during 1990 and 1991, and made available in English for the first time in 2008.  As with much of her other work, these stories err on the dark side of human nature.   In 'The Diving Pool', a 'lonely teenage girl [named Aya] falls in love with her foster brother as she watches him leap from a high diving board into a pool'.  Aya surveys him secretly, and then goes out of her way to scurry home, to the orphanage which her parents run, before he finishes his shower, so that he is unaware of her presence.  Ogawa writes: 'I spent a lot of time on the bleachers at the edge of the diving pool.  I was here yesterday and the day before, and three months ago as well.  I'm not thinking about anything or waiting for something; in fact, I don't seem to have any reason to be here at all.  I just sit and look at Jun's wet body.'  She elaborates further: 'Yet this is a special place, my personal watchtower.  I alone can see him, and he comes straight to me.'  The unsettling sense one gets here manifests itself both in the building of the story, and within certain character descriptions.  The narrator of the tale describes her mother, for instance, who is barely mentioned afterward, like so: 'Her lips were like maggots that never stopped wriggling, and I found myself wanting to squash them between my fingers.' 'Pregnancy Diary' is written from the perspective of a young woman whose sister is pregnant.  It is a 'sinister tale of greed and repulsion', and certainly crosses boundaries of what is acceptable.  At the outset of the tale, the narrator, who appears rather self-important, wonders 'how she broke the news [of the pregnancy] to her husband.  I don't really know what they talk about when I'm not around.  In fact, I don't really understand couples at all.  They seem like some sort of inexplicable gaseous body to me - a shapeless, colorless, unintelligible thing, trapped in a laboratory beaker.'  When she goes on to describe the ultrasound photograph, Ogawa makes a fitting yet unusual comparison: 'The night sky in the background was pure and black, so dark it made you dizzy if you stared at it too long.  The rain drifted through the frame like a gentle mist, but right in the middle was a hollow area in the shape of a lima bean.'  The suspense has been built brilliantly in 'Pregnancy Diary', and heightens when the narrator takes such unadulterated pleasure in the pain which her sister undergoes as a result of her condition. 'Dormitory' deals with a woman visiting her old college rooms in Tokyo, which her cousin is hoping to move into.  At first, she feels nostalgia about her experience there, but she soon begins to notice the darker elements which have crept in since she moved on.  In the dormitory building, she 'finds an isolated world shadowed by decay, haunted by absent students and the disturbing figure of the crippled caretaker.'  The woman is aware of a noise which she can sometimes hear, and which becomes more and more troubling to her as time goes on.  The story begins: 'I became aware of the sound quite recently, though I can't say with certainty when it started.  There is a place in my memory that is dim and obscure, and the sound seems to have been hiding just there.  At some point I suddenly realized that I was hearing it...  It was audible only at certain moments, and not necessarily when I wanted to hear it.'  She goes on to say: 'To be honest, I'm not sure you could even call it a sound.  It might be more accurate to say it was a quaking, a current, even a throb.  But no matter how I strained to hear it, everything about the sound - its source, its tone, its timbre' remained vague.   The way in which she goes on to describe her old college building, and how she finds it just six years after graduating, is chilling: 'Still, it wasn't exactly a ruin...  I could feel traces of life been in the decaying concrete, a warm, rhythmic presence that seeped quietly into my skin.' Despite these novellas being little more than long short stories, really, we learn an awful lot about each protagonist.  Their narrative voices feel authentic, and the way in which Ogawa has been able to pen three stories, all with young women at their core, but has made them so different, shows what a masterful and versatile writer she is.  The first two narrators have something quite sinister at their core, which are not apparent at first.  The third narrator seemed more innocent, and therefore the darker elements of the story came almost as more of a shock.  It feels throughout as though Ogawa wished to lull her readers into a false sense of security with these stories. The imagery which Ogawa creates is at once startling and vivid.  In 'The Diving Pool', for instance, the narrator begins by saying: 'It's always warm here.  I feel as though I've been swallowed by a huge animal.'  There is certainly a dark edge to each of the tales, which is present at the outset and builds toward the end.  Throughout, there is a focus on the minutiae of life, and how things are often far more sinister than they appear at first glance. There are no satisfying conclusions here; rather, the stories end at points of heightened tension, buzzing with unanswered questions and a lack of resolution.  Regardless, The Diving Pool makes for compelling and compulsive reading, and is, I think, the most unsettling of Ogawa's books which I have read to date.  There is an almost grotesque edge to each of them, and all are taut and masterfully crafted.  Collected in The Diving Pool are the best kinds of stories: ones which promise to stay with you for a long time to come.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Abeer Saleh

    رواية رقيقة , تحكي عن فتاة في دار للأيتام, تشاركهم إحساس اليتم رغم وجود والديها برفقتها, فتاة لا تملك وسيلة متعة سوى النظر في جسد أحد نزلاء الميتم حين خروجه من حوض السباحة, والمتعة الأخرى في إشباع قسوتها ببكاء "رييه" ذات العام والنصف تقريبًا.  رواية تكشف لك مشاعر البشر الغريبة, غربة الروح مع وجود العائلة, إحساس القسوة الذي يظهر حتى مع طفلة صغيرة, كره الأحاديث العائلية, عدم تقدير النعم التي نحن بها , قد يكون لذلك دوافع عديدة ,لكن أن تؤلم يتيمة صغيرة, لتستمتع ببكاءها ونحيبها, وتشبع إحساساً بداخلك, رواية رقيقة , تحكي عن فتاة في دار للأيتام, تشاركهم إحساس اليتم رغم وجود والديها برفقتها, فتاة لا تملك وسيلة متعة سوى النظر في جسد أحد نزلاء الميتم حين خروجه من حوض السباحة, والمتعة الأخرى في إشباع قسوتها ببكاء "رييه" ذات العام والنصف تقريبًا.  رواية تكشف لك مشاعر البشر الغريبة, غربة الروح مع وجود العائلة, إحساس القسوة الذي يظهر حتى مع طفلة صغيرة, كره الأحاديث العائلية, عدم تقدير النعم التي نحن بها , قد يكون لذلك دوافع عديدة ,لكن أن تؤلم يتيمة صغيرة, لتستمتع ببكاءها ونحيبها, وتشبع إحساساً بداخلك, أمر يرفضه عقلي ولا أجد له سببًا مقنعاً ! كرهت بطلة الرواية بسبب فعلها مع "رييه" , ولكن فعلها أعطاني مساحة للتفكير في بعض التصرفات التي نجدها غريبة من البعض, ونهمل الدافع أو النقص وراءها. صحيح أنها لم تكن بحجم توقعاتي, لكن الترجمة كانت أجمل مافي الكتاب, ترجمة قديرة, أعطت الروح للنص, يشكر بسام حجار على مابذله.

  15. 5 out of 5

    أحمد جابر

    غريبة، ومخالفة لما هو عادي، فتاة لوالدين يديران ملجأ للأيتام، وهي تعيش بينهم، وتتعايش على عدمية وجودهما، أي أنها يتيمة كباقي زملائها، تعجب بشاب أشد الإعجاب، تفتن بجسده، وتدقق في تفاصيله أكثر مما هو يدقق فيه، لكنّها من زاوية أخرى، تعذب طفلة أو بالأحرى تتلذذ في سماع بكائها، وتتسبب عن قصد أو بغير قصد في تسميمها. إنها قصة التناقض في النظر إلى الكائن البشري، رغم أن العين واحدة، أما حوض السباحة فهو الشاهد الوحيد على كل ما سيحصل أو حصل من جريمة بين العاشقين الجدد.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Zak

    It's always exciting when trying out writers for the first time. You never know what to expect and whether the book is ultimately good or not, there's still that initial feeling of unfamiliarity and discovery. Yoko Ogawa has been popping up in my feeds a lot lately, with generally rave reviews and comments about 'The Housekeeper and the Professor'. I still haven't read that but could gather that it was a generally sweet, moving tale with some romance thrown in. Instead of going for that most well It's always exciting when trying out writers for the first time. You never know what to expect and whether the book is ultimately good or not, there's still that initial feeling of unfamiliarity and discovery. Yoko Ogawa has been popping up in my feeds a lot lately, with generally rave reviews and comments about 'The Housekeeper and the Professor'. I still haven't read that but could gather that it was a generally sweet, moving tale with some romance thrown in. Instead of going for that most well-known novel of hers, I decided to dip a toe in the water by going for something shorter. The Diving Pool is a collection of three novellas which are unrelated and can be read separately. I went in without reading any reviews beforehand. Let me say upfront that these stories were neither sweet nor moving. Which is not a bad thing, except that it was totally not what I expected. You won't need a thesaurus for this one but Ogawa has the ability to generate a feeling of unease almost from the beginning, with an economy of prose that is impressive. Even while narrating seemingly mundane things (all first person), there is this sense of foreboding that all is somehow not right. I won't say too much here as it might interfere with others' process of "discovery" that I enjoyed. But I will admit that parts of the first story (titled after the book) made me cringe. I preferred the first (4.0*) and third stories (4.0*) although the second one ('Pregnancy Diary', 3.5*) won Japan's Akutagawa Prize in 1990. The ending of the third story ('Dormitory') might turn some people off but I thought it was neat. If anyone would like to discuss 'Dormitory' after reading, I would be glad to. Overall, I would venture to say that if you like a disturbing read and you enjoyed Han Kang's 'The Vegetarian', then you might like this too. Final rating: 3.8*

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    This is the second book I have read by this leading Japanese author. After recently reading her wonderful book “The Housekeeper and the Professor” I started looking for her other translated works. This is a collection of 3 novellas, all marked by her simple elegant prose. My favourite was the title story, about a teenage girl whose religious parents run a home (the ‘Light House’) for orphans and abandoned children. She feels out of sync with her family and her home. “Sometimes, as I approach, th This is the second book I have read by this leading Japanese author. After recently reading her wonderful book “The Housekeeper and the Professor” I started looking for her other translated works. This is a collection of 3 novellas, all marked by her simple elegant prose. My favourite was the title story, about a teenage girl whose religious parents run a home (the ‘Light House’) for orphans and abandoned children. She feels out of sync with her family and her home. “Sometimes, as I approach, the Light House appears fixed and acute, while I, by contrast, feel vague and dim. At other times, I feel almost painfully clear and sharp, while the Light House is hazy. Either way, there is always something irreconcilable between the house and me, something I can never get past.” She has a crush on one of the teenage boys in her home with whom she has grown up. “I was the only one who had seen the expressions on his face at these moments, and I kept those images locked away like a bundle of precious letters.” He is a diver, and she loves to watch him from the corners and shadows. She feels closest to him, there at the pool. She is lonely and alienated from her family. She describes her voluble mother: “Particularly talkative during dinner, she was not one to cast about for topics that would include everyone, preferring to talk about herself and her interests from the moment we sat down until the meal was over. As she would grow increasingly excited and out of breath, I often wondered whether she in fact hated herself for talking so much. … Her lips were like two maggots that never stopped wriggling, and I found myself wanting to squash them between my fingers.” The reader starts to feel sympathy for her, but then is brought up short by sprays of thin strands of cruelty. Ogawa keeps gently pushing the reader along with her descriptions that make you stop and look again. “…along the way the knot of people who left the station with me unravels and fades away with the sunlight.” and “Sunlight covered the ground like a shower of gold dust.” In “The Pregnancy Diary” the descriptions of the emotions, the morning sickness, and cravings of pregnancy were deftly drawn and twisted a bit, the result slightly oddly funny, or funnily odd, and even a bit touching. I initially thought this collection was about a 3 to 3 ½, but in re-reading parts of them, and thinking again about them, trying to puzzle them out (because they are all a bit odd and sometimes a tad creepy), I find her writing is definitely growing on me, and I’d give it a 4. I’m on the lookout for another one by her.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    I have been dying for some more Ogawa ever since I read two of her short stories in The New Yorker over two years ago and instantly fell for her prose. A novel that was supposed to come out last year never arrived, and it's been one long tease. Ogawa writes with unfettered, graceful prose that is seductive in its softness and simplicity, lending even more shock value to her dark subjects. In the title story, a young girl who grew up in the orphanage run by her parents has grown obsessed with the I have been dying for some more Ogawa ever since I read two of her short stories in The New Yorker over two years ago and instantly fell for her prose. A novel that was supposed to come out last year never arrived, and it's been one long tease. Ogawa writes with unfettered, graceful prose that is seductive in its softness and simplicity, lending even more shock value to her dark subjects. In the title story, a young girl who grew up in the orphanage run by her parents has grown obsessed with the only boy to ever live there long enough to reach high-school age, and her unfulfilled passions start to emerge in acts of cruelty directed at the home's newest and youngest member. It's disturbing without being exploitative and grotesque. Amidst the calm writing are often wonderful images, such as a snow storm inside the house or lines like "He reappears out of the foam, the rippling surface of the water gathering up like a veil around his shoulders...." Ahhhhh. The second story, "The Pregnancy Diaries," tackles a somewhat commonplace subject in a unique way. A woman keeps a journal chronicling her sister's pregnancy, writing about it in terms evocative of science fiction and horror. Yet, Ogawa does so without straining the metaphor or using obvious language. The final story, "Dormitory," details a woman's return to the spartan housing that was her college apartment, and the strange triple-amputee landlord that lives there. It's a mystery tale, a gothic horror story, and yet also a personal soliloquy. The final image shows her reaching directly in the complex patterns that connect all life. Wonderful stuff. Deep, yet reads like a breeze. Loved it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shaindel

    I recently read this book so that I could interview the translator, Stephen Snyder, for my radio show, _Translated By_. I read this book and _The Housekeeper and the Professor_ (also by Yoko Ogawa and translated by Stephen Snyder). I LOVED both books. Ogawa has a reserved and distanced writing style that I find intriguing. Many of her characters are disaffected, young females, struggling to find their ways in the world, and many of her stories are haunting or disturbing because of the ways these I recently read this book so that I could interview the translator, Stephen Snyder, for my radio show, _Translated By_. I read this book and _The Housekeeper and the Professor_ (also by Yoko Ogawa and translated by Stephen Snyder). I LOVED both books. Ogawa has a reserved and distanced writing style that I find intriguing. Many of her characters are disaffected, young females, struggling to find their ways in the world, and many of her stories are haunting or disturbing because of the ways these characters go about this journey. I think the title story, _The Diving Pool_ was the strongest out of this collection but enjoyed all three novellas. Apparently, before Snyder's translations, Ogawa had only been translated into French, so this book and _The Diving Bell_ are English-only readers' only opportunities to read Ogawa. Snyder is working on translating more works of hers, though. I can't wait! Listen to our interview here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/onword/v...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Miriam Cihodariu

    Another read from Ogawa, and I continue to like her style overall. It is indeed what people would call 'disturbing', since it voices the inner thoughts and desires that don't do people much honor. A teenager in love with her adoptive brother likes to take out her frustrations on a baby sister, by torturing her, as long as no marks of her activities remain. A woman studies her sister's pregnancy with a semi-fascinated and semi-disgusted eye as if studying some alien manifestation. Another woman t Another read from Ogawa, and I continue to like her style overall. It is indeed what people would call 'disturbing', since it voices the inner thoughts and desires that don't do people much honor. A teenager in love with her adoptive brother likes to take out her frustrations on a baby sister, by torturing her, as long as no marks of her activities remain. A woman studies her sister's pregnancy with a semi-fascinated and semi-disgusted eye as if studying some alien manifestation. Another woman takes refuge in caring for her younger cousin and for her former college dormitory's master, just to escape her husband's requests to take steps towards emigration to Sweden. This third tale seems to be the only one not focused on exploring these dark impulses within human nature. Instead, it's hauntingly beautiful and with the occasional thrill pangs. ------------------------------------------------- A small excerpt from the first tale: "I've seen pictures from underwater cameras. The frame is completely filled with deep blue water, and then the diver shoots down, only to turn at the bottom and kick off back toward the surface. This underwater pivot is even more beautiful than the dive itself: the ankles and hands slice through the water majestically, and the body is completely enclosed in the purity of the pool. When the women dive, their hair flutters underwater as though lifted in a breeze, and they all look so peaceful, like children doing deep-breathing exercises. One after the other, the divers come slipping into the water, making their graceful arcs in front of the camera. I would like them to move more slowly, to stay longer, but after a few seconds their heads appear again above the surface. Does Jun let his body float free at the bottom of the pool, like a fetus in its mother's womb? How I'd love to watch him to my heart's content as he drifts there, utterly free."

  21. 5 out of 5

    Callum McLaughlin

    There's something about Ogawa's work that is so effortlessly unsettling. It's like wandering around a seemingly pristine room, feeling that something just isn't quite right about it, before spotting a patch of mould festering in the corner. We'd rather ignore its ugliness, lest it spoil the beauty, but Ogawa takes us by the hand and makes us stare right at it. The three novellas that comprise this book all explore suppressed emotion, with her heroines' slightly off kilter view of the world and in There's something about Ogawa's work that is so effortlessly unsettling. It's like wandering around a seemingly pristine room, feeling that something just isn't quite right about it, before spotting a patch of mould festering in the corner. We'd rather ignore its ugliness, lest it spoil the beauty, but Ogawa takes us by the hand and makes us stare right at it. The three novellas that comprise this book all explore suppressed emotion, with her heroines' slightly off kilter view of the world and inner frustrations manifesting in a sense of detachment, and casual everyday cruelty. In this way, she exposes the dark side of human nature that is never far from civilised society, using elegantly simple prose that is punctuated by imagery that tips the balance between beauty and revulsion. The third story in particular challenges convention, plays with tropes of the gothic genre to toy with reader expectations, and presents us with a startling final tableau. She doesn't hand us all the answers, nor does she want us to feel entirely comfortable, and yet somehow, she hooks us in for the ride, and leaves us feeling bewildered in the very best way.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mohamed Gamal

    يوكو هي الخيط الوحيد الذي يربطني بالادب الياباني

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    From this list.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hoda Marmar

    Ogawa's creepy stories keep me begging for more. It is like a bad addiction really. The stories are either horrifying or downright mindblowing (or both). But I love them!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Utsav

    More creepy goodness from Yoko Ogawa. Not quite as shocking as 'Revenge' but there were enough bits where I could feel my pulse in my throat. [Aside: is it an odd admission to make that reading about other people's evil thoughts gets my heart racing?]

  26. 4 out of 5

    Farah Shamma

    When I picked up this book of three novellas, I did not expect it to be so dark. I’d previously to this read one book for the Yuko Ogawa, The Housekeeper and the Professor, and it was one of my favorite books in 2014. This book of novellas was pretty great as well but for me, it took a whole new tone than what I was used to from the author. The first novella, The Diving Pool, is about a girl who essentially has a thing for her foster brother and likes to watch him during his diving practice. We When I picked up this book of three novellas, I did not expect it to be so dark. I’d previously to this read one book for the Yuko Ogawa, The Housekeeper and the Professor, and it was one of my favorite books in 2014. This book of novellas was pretty great as well but for me, it took a whole new tone than what I was used to from the author. The first novella, The Diving Pool, is about a girl who essentially has a thing for her foster brother and likes to watch him during his diving practice. We get this story from her point of view and while things may seem innocent, this girl’s inner thoughts and psyche are a lot darker than what they seem. This girl is actually psychopathically unstable and this juxtaposes nicely with her foster brother’s clean-cut goodness. throughout this 50-page short story, you delve deep into the capabilities that this girl has for cruelty and it makes you cringe so much and feel so unsettled. This was, however, my favorite story in the book, because it made me feel so strongly towards the main character and her misdeeds. The second novella, Pregnancy Diary, was a curious one. It’s about a girl who lives with her sister and her husband and who keeps track of her sister’s pregnancy symptoms. It at times implies that the pregnancy may be made up. Again this story also had weird mentally dark cringe-worthy moments that unsettled me. The pregnancy symptoms were exaggerated and you start to feel the sister’s burden of having to put up with her pregnant sister’s constant demands and whims. Things start to take a turn for the “dark” when the narrator starts to feel hostile towards her pregnant sister and drives her to commit small – almost inconsequential – acts that makes the reader feel dread. Again, this story made me feel as uncomfortable as the first one and because of the way this was executed through the author’s prose, I thought it was brilliant. The third novella, The Dormitory, was the last and probably my least favorite of the three. I honestly didn’t quite understand this one. The ending still confuses me and I probably still can’t tell you what it’s about. The story builds up and makes you think you know where it’s going, but then I didn’t quite grasp where it eventually went. A story about a housewife living alone while her husband is in Sweden for work purposes wiles away her days until she gets a call from her cousin who decides to move into the old dormitory she lived in during her university days. The dormitory, run by the old amputee, isn’t quite what it’s been back in her days and holds the mystery of a disappearing boy, etc...This story was creepy, and I was enjoying it up until the ending, which I guess didn’t really bother me much. Bees, though. I loved how Ogawa manages to pack quite a bit without crowding the story to give the reader the full understanding of the plot and the characters. The writing style is very straightforward but the content is actually very twisted. Throughout all three stories, I felt the dread deep in a my belly and because these three novellas successfully managed to illicit a response like that from a reader proves the successfulness of the author’s writing and the atmosphere she manages to create.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mèo lười

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. *Review linh tinh lắm* Yoko Ogawa có viết một truyện ngắn tựa là "Nhà ăn buổi chiều tà và bể bơi dưới mưa". Truyện kể về một người đàn ông trung niên, dắt theo đứa con nhỏ hằng ngày cứ đến buổi chiều tà lại ngắm nhìn cái nhà ăn tập thể kia. Hỏi ra thì ông bảo cảm giác nhìn nhà ăn ở thời điểm ấy bình yên hệt như bể bơi dưới mưa. Tại sao? Đó là bởi khi còn là một đứa trẻ, ông không biết bơi. Cảm giác bị phân biệt đối xử, bị cười nhạo ngay trên hồ bơi ấy đã khiến ông cảm thấy xấu hổ. Thế nên, ông chỉ *Review linh tinh lắm* Yoko Ogawa có viết một truyện ngắn tựa là "Nhà ăn buổi chiều tà và bể bơi dưới mưa". Truyện kể về một người đàn ông trung niên, dắt theo đứa con nhỏ hằng ngày cứ đến buổi chiều tà lại ngắm nhìn cái nhà ăn tập thể kia. Hỏi ra thì ông bảo cảm giác nhìn nhà ăn ở thời điểm ấy bình yên hệt như bể bơi dưới mưa. Tại sao? Đó là bởi khi còn là một đứa trẻ, ông không biết bơi. Cảm giác bị phân biệt đối xử, bị cười nhạo ngay trên hồ bơi ấy đã khiến ông cảm thấy xấu hổ. Thế nên, ông chỉ ưa bể bơi lúc trời mưa vì chẳng có ai lại đi bơi cả. Với ông, bể bơi dưới mưa là bình yên nhất. Cũng ở thời điểm đó, ông vô tình chứng kiến được quy trình đầy công nghiệp của nhà ăn. Ông ghê tởm thứ mình đang ăn, và kiên quyết chối bỏ thức ăn ngay từ khi là một đứa trẻ. Vậy nên ông chỉ có thể ngắm nhìn nhà ăn vào buổi chiều tà, khi mọi thứ đã dừng lại. Cái cỗ máy công nghiệp kia cũng thôi hoạt động. Thói quen ấy theo ông đến tận khi trung niên. --- Hẳn là luôn có một điểm, mà tại đó chúng ta nhìn lại mọi thứ thật rõ ràng, thật bình yên. Có khi phải đi hết cả quãng đời để đến được điểm đó. Có khi chỉ cần vài ba sự kiện lớn lao, vài ba kinh nghiệm để đời. Chẳng hạn như, mình của tuổi 22 nhìn lại chính mình của những năm 16-17 thấy hắn thật trẻ con, sến súa và bi quan. Nhưng mình của tuổi 22 chưa bao giờ thôi hết nghĩ ngợi, cả những chuyện tào lao tuổi 16-17. Mình đã đi đến điểm đó chưa? Chắc là chưa đâu nhỉ. Vì cứ còn buồn hoài, buồn hoài. Mà những nỗi buồn có chóng tàn đâu chứ.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jana

    Ogawa writes about dark and disturbing materials. But you don’t really get that, she sucks you in her everyday-normal-life vortex with its usual dialogues and people. But stories are chilling, although you don’t know why you feel like you are subtly creeped out. I like it when nature is one of the crucial characters – here it seems like rain never stops and light is circling around grey shades. In 'Dormitory', she writes about this sound that she can’t explain. It’s something close to a vibratin Ogawa writes about dark and disturbing materials. But you don’t really get that, she sucks you in her everyday-normal-life vortex with its usual dialogues and people. But stories are chilling, although you don’t know why you feel like you are subtly creeped out. I like it when nature is one of the crucial characters – here it seems like rain never stops and light is circling around grey shades. In 'Dormitory', she writes about this sound that she can’t explain. It’s something close to a vibrating whir when you during the winter throw a coin into the cold water of a fountain. Or like a tremor that you hear in your ears when you’re jumping off the carousel. Or like the sound of night that whiffs off your palm of the hand with which you are still tightly holding your receiver. She gets your senses twisted and she captivates you because you’re questioning yourself: this is not strange, is it? Writer just a bit reminded me of Murakami, but while he goes right into the heart of unconscious, Ogawa does it more walking on earth. She is playing with a human psyche, but on the tip of her toes, in a numbing way. You feel like you are normal, but you are actually one step away from madness. I can’t explain it. Ogawa’s life seems ordinary, but it’s just not.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Steph

    This is a wonderful collection of novellas! I had very high expectations for this book, and was not let down by Ogawa's subtly creepy storytelling. Five stars for the title story - a sad and eerie tale about how the darkness within us isolates us from those we care for most. I'm less fond of the second story, Pregnancy Diary. It covers similar territory (view spoiler)[of casual destruction of young life (hide spoiler)] , but it's much less satisfying than The Diving Pool. And Dormitory? I couldn't p This is a wonderful collection of novellas! I had very high expectations for this book, and was not let down by Ogawa's subtly creepy storytelling. Five stars for the title story - a sad and eerie tale about how the darkness within us isolates us from those we care for most. I'm less fond of the second story, Pregnancy Diary. It covers similar territory (view spoiler)[of casual destruction of young life (hide spoiler)] , but it's much less satisfying than The Diving Pool. And Dormitory? I couldn't put this one down. The non-resolution disappointed me, but I'm not surprised that nothing is explained in the end. If all my questions were answered, it would probably take away from the surreal tone of the story, anyway.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gretel

    Sometimes genuinely creepy, sometimes B-movie creepy.

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