After reading The Housekeeper and the Professor, I was very impressed with Yoko Ogawa and I've been meaning to read her other novels as well, the translated ones by the way. So I'm so happy that I get the chance with the Japanese theme to read another of her novels, Hotel Iris.
Title: Hotel Iris
Author: Yoko Ogawa
Date of Publication: 2010 (first published in Japan in 1996)
Number of Pages: 164
In a crumbling seaside hotel on the coast of Japan, quiet seventeen-year-old Mari works the front desk as her mother tends to the off-season customers. When one night they are forced to expel a middle-aged man and a prostitute from their room, Mari finds herself drawn to the man's voice, in what will become the first gesture of a single long seduction. In spite of her provincial surroundings, and her cool but controlling mother, Mari is a sophisticated observer of human desire, and she sees in this man something she has long been looking for. The man is a proud if threadbare translator living on an island off the coast. A widower, there are whispers around town that he may have murdered his wife. Mari begins to visit him on his island, and he soon initiates her into a dark realm of both pain and pleasure, a place in which she finds herself more at easy even than the translator. As Mari's mother begins to close in on the affair, Mari's sense of what is suitable and what is desirable are recklessly engaged.
About the author:
Yoko Ogawa was born in 1962 and still lives in Japan. Since 1988, she has published more than forty works of fiction and nonfiction. She was introduced to the west with her short story The Cafeteria in the Evening and a Pool in the Rain, which was published in 2004 on The New Yorker. Ogawa was nominated and won many awards, more notably the Akutagawa Award in 1990. Her other works include The Housekeeper and the Professor, The Diving Pool and Revenge.
As an introduction to this author, you can read two of her short stories here.