A dark and beautifully written story of a young girl's tragic love triangle with an older man and his young nephew
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In a crumbling, seaside hotel on the coast of Japan, quiet, seventeen-year-old Mari works the front desk as her mother fusses over the off-season customers. When, one night, they are forced to eject a prostitute and a middle-aged man from his room, Mari finds herself drawn to the man's voice, in what will become the first gesture of a long seduction. The mysterious man lives quietly as a translator on an island off the coast. A widower, there are murmurs around town that he may have murdered his wife. Mari begins to visit him, but as he initiates her into a dark realm of both pain and pleasure, she finds herself also attracted to his earnest young nephew. As Mari's mother and the police begin to close in on the illicit affair, events move to a dramatic climax.
It's brave territory for Ogawa, and she manages in with sharp focus; she creates moments of breathtaking ugliness, often when least expected...but also sometimes a longing that is touching and tender
Both very weird and very good... Image by perfect image, we are led down into a mysterious and gripping universe, simultaneously beautiful and terrifying... From the opening sentences of Hotel Iris you know that every word will count and that every scene will be the occasion for strong and strange feeling
Times Literary Supplement
To read Ogawa is to enter a dreamlike state tinged with a nightmare... She possesses an effortless, glassy, eerie brilliance
Precisely written, this dreamlike narrative expands into an ambiguous story of sexual dependency and damage. Ogawa's exact prose glitters as menacingly as the surrounding sea
Exploring dark desires is something at which Ogawa has become disconcertingly adept
New York Times
Haunting and remarkable, taut and succint, Hotel Iris is unlike any book you will ever read. Seventeen year old Mari’s mother owns a hotel in a tired seaside resort. One night a woman and her male companion cause a scene and are thrown out – when Mari sees the much older man a few days later she finds herself irrestibly drawn to him and a strange and disturbing relationship develops between the two. Despite it’s ugly brutality, Hotel Iris will beguile you with its exquisite darkness.
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Yoko Ogawa has won every major Japanese literary award. Her fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, A Public Space, and Zoetrope. Her works include The Diving Pool, a collection of three novellas, The ...