ダイヴィング・プールDaivingu pūru —

ダイヴィング・プールDaivingu pūru —



10 thoughts on “ダイヴィング・プールDaivingu pūru — 妊娠カレンダーNinshin karendā — ドミトリイDomitorii

  1. Paquita Maria Sanchez Paquita Maria Sanchez says:

    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 welcomeAs 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 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 realityThe 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 allThis 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 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. Kay Kay says:

    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 unreuited is expressed through sadism and abuseThe 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 becomeI 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 passagesOut 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 physiue and elegant form However as Jun is technically Aya’s “brother” and her increasingly obsessive feelings can never be reuited Aya alleviates her emotional frustrations in sadistic and grotesue 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 oneStory rating 55 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 uality about it as if it were a dream laced with nightmaresSimilar 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 uality 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 conseuences such resentment can bring aboutStory rating 455 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 reuest 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 uickly morphs into something resembling a mystery at the dormitory as the woman increasingly shuts out her distant husband and focuses 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 uestions 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 55Overall 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 book5 STARS AND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED though with reservations


  3. Warwick Warwick says:

    It's ironic that this was translated by Stephen Snyder who wrote a famous essay about literary translation – The Murakami Effect – complaining that translated fiction tends disproportionately to favour those writers who use simple language and minimal cultural detail Ironic because that's exactly how I'd characterise this book It exists comfortably in that Global English which calls on a small vocabulary a flat style and no knowledge of its context and builds its sense of generalised anxiety from overt symbols rather than from linguistic effects Nothing wrong with that in principle of courseThe three stories in this collection share a common obsession with the unsettling details of food bodies and what you might call an erotics of vulnerability For Ogawa it is enough to focus attention on a few particulars of everyday life – ‘My cold bacon and eggs lay uietly in the pan’; ‘in the darkness and silence I heard the faint sound of running water’ – and hope that we pick up on the tone If not she just comes right out and explains that it's creepyIt occurred to me that almost everything in the store was edible and this seemed a bit sinister There was something disturbing about so many people converging on this one spot in search of foodI mean was there? I compare this with a writer like JG Ballard who operates on the same basis but with a prose style that works for him He can write sentences like ‘The house was silent but somewhere in the garden was a swimming pool filled with unsettled water’ This does everything Ogawa's prose wants toThe problem with feeling that a writing style is too flat is that I was increasingly unsure about whether Ogawa actually had something to say behind it The feeling becomes especially acute in the third story where Gothic ideograms are piled up almost to the point of absurdity – a missing student a sound of unseen insects an empty house a man with one leg and no arms for heaven's sake The conjunction of these things is presented as something to be in some way deciphered but I am a bit doubtful that it can be done – the techniue seems to be about throwing symbols at the reader and hoping some of them stickOf course these issues are one of the dangers with translated fiction in general for all the reasons that this particular translator has laid out in his essay elsewhere Still for all the problems I had with it this kind of storytelling does have its charm and if you like flat deadpan evocations of uotidian unease then you may well get a lot out of this


  4. Teresa Teresa says:

    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 afterwardThere 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 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


  5. Janie C. Janie C. says:

    Yoko Agawa's writing is magnetic Each of the three novellas in this volume pulled me instantly into the lives of the characters Themes of isolation jealousy cruelty and compassion are presented with ease compelling the reader to become involved with personalities either unsavory or benevolent The words fly as graciously as bees and tempt the reader to seek honey in the strangest of places


  6. Blair Blair says:

    Three stories all of which feel unsettling in a way that can be difficult to uantify The main characters might be collectively described as female outsiders two women and one girl all of them lonely detached and concerned with observing rather than participatingIn 'The Diving Pool' teenage Aya focuses her obsessive energies on her foster brother Jun whose body she covets and a little girl named Rie whom she torments 'Pregnancy Diary' again centres on a character who seems overly preoccupied with bodies as the narrator keeps a record of the changes in her pregnant sister's appetite and appearance Both stories feature deeply uncomfortable details – Aya's characterisation of her cruelty to Rie as 'erotic' the sister's repulsive descriptions of food 'Doesn't the sauce on the macaroni remind you of digestive juices?'The weirdest – and best – of the stories is the last 'Dormitory' The narrator is living alone; her husband has moved to Sweden for a job but she's in no hurry to join him ignoring the to do lists he sends her A younger cousin asks her to help him find somewhere to live while he studies in Tokyo and she recommends her old dormitory Run by a triple amputee – whom the narrator refers to simply as 'the manager' – the place is dilapidated and near empty seemingly infested by decay This theme is mirrored in the structure of the story itself as things progressively become stranger and surreal culminating in a bizarre final scene that feels like something from a dream or a nightmareWhile I was reading The Diving Pool I felt a little disappointed I'd heard a lot about Yōko Ogawa's work and the writing didn't seize me as I'd hoped – the style is rather listless an echo of the characters' oddly placid dispositions But now I've spent a bit of time away from it I'm beginning to perceive the details meanings and motifs I didn't notice at first Appropriately given the title these brief cool stories conceal hidden depthsTinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr


  7. David David says:

    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 crueltyDormitory Again cruelty in place of communication Loved it Fabulous ending read the last pages four timesIt occurred to me that he was young to have lost so many important things his chicken his girl his father


  8. Kaya Kaya says:

    Despite the fact I find Asian literature a bit unconventional the I read it the I like it This book is no exception It has it all melancholy uestionable 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 starsAya 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 starsThe 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 25 starsAnother 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 uestionable ending I do not understand nor I likeThere is reason that dormity was completely empty ugh


  9. Michael Livingston Michael Livingston says:

    Three cool uncomfortable novellas Ogawa's simple elegant prose makes the darkness at the heart of these stories even stranger


  10. Faye Faye says:

    First read November 2016Rating DNF at 6%I wasn't in the right mood to read this a few years ago so I abandoned it then I'm hoping I enjoy it nowRe read May 2019The Diving Pool 255 starsPregnancy Diary 45 stars Dormitory 455 stars I really liked the second and third stories in this collection which I read for the first time The Diving Pool is definitely my least favourite as the narrator is such an awful human being it makes the story hard to read Dormitory was an absolute favourite; dark and almost gothic part murder mystey and part supernatural I wanted it to be longerOverall rating 45 stars


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ダイヴィング・プールDaivingu pūru — 妊娠カレンダーNinshin karendā — ドミトリイDomitorii ❰KINDLE❯ ❂ ダイヴィング・プールDaivingu pūru — 妊娠カレンダーNinshin karendā — ドミトリイDomitorii Author Yōko Ogawa – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk From Akutagawa Award winning author Yoko Ogawa comes a haunting trio of novellas about love fertility obsession and how even the most innocent gestures may contain a hairline crack of cruel intentA lo From Akutagawa Award winning author — 妊娠カレンダーNinshin ePUB ☆ Yoko Ogawa comes a haunting trio of novellas about love fertility obsession and how even the most innocent gestures may contain ダイヴィング・プールDaivingu pūru ePUB ´ a hairline crack of cruel intentA lonely teenage girl falls in love with her foster brother as she watches him leap from a high diving board into pūru — 妊娠カレンダーNinshin PDF ↠ a pool a peculiar infatuation that sends unexpected ripples through her lifeA young woman records the daily moods of her pregnant sister in a diary taking meticulous pūru — 妊娠カレンダーNinshin karendā — PDF/EPUB ² note of a pregnancy that may or may not be a hallucination but whose hallucination is it hers or her sister'sA woman nostalgically visits her old college dormitory on the outskirts of Tokyo a boarding house run by a mysterious triple amputee with one legHauntingly spare beautiful and twisted The Diving Pool is a disuieting and at times darkly humorous collection of novellas about normal people who suddenly discover their own dark possibilities.

10 thoughts on “ダイヴィング・プールDaivingu pūru — 妊娠カレンダーNinshin karendā — ドミトリイDomitorii

  1. Paquita Maria Sanchez Paquita Maria Sanchez says:

    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 welcomeAs 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 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 realityThe 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 allThis 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 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. Kay Kay says:

    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 unreuited is expressed through sadism and abuseThe 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 becomeI 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 passagesOut 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 physiue and elegant form However as Jun is technically Aya’s “brother” and her increasingly obsessive feelings can never be reuited Aya alleviates her emotional frustrations in sadistic and grotesue 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 oneStory rating 55 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 uality about it as if it were a dream laced with nightmaresSimilar 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 uality 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 conseuences such resentment can bring aboutStory rating 455 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 reuest 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 uickly morphs into something resembling a mystery at the dormitory as the woman increasingly shuts out her distant husband and focuses 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 uestions 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 55Overall 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 book5 STARS AND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED though with reservations

  3. Warwick Warwick says:

    It's ironic that this was translated by Stephen Snyder who wrote a famous essay about literary translation – The Murakami Effect – complaining that translated fiction tends disproportionately to favour those writers who use simple language and minimal cultural detail Ironic because that's exactly how I'd characterise this book It exists comfortably in that Global English which calls on a small vocabulary a flat style and no knowledge of its context and builds its sense of generalised anxiety from overt symbols rather than from linguistic effects Nothing wrong with that in principle of courseThe three stories in this collection share a common obsession with the unsettling details of food bodies and what you might call an erotics of vulnerability For Ogawa it is enough to focus attention on a few particulars of everyday life – ‘My cold bacon and eggs lay uietly in the pan’; ‘in the darkness and silence I heard the faint sound of running water’ – and hope that we pick up on the tone If not she just comes right out and explains that it's creepyIt occurred to me that almost everything in the store was edible and this seemed a bit sinister There was something disturbing about so many people converging on this one spot in search of foodI mean was there? I compare this with a writer like JG Ballard who operates on the same basis but with a prose style that works for him He can write sentences like ‘The house was silent but somewhere in the garden was a swimming pool filled with unsettled water’ This does everything Ogawa's prose wants toThe problem with feeling that a writing style is too flat is that I was increasingly unsure about whether Ogawa actually had something to say behind it The feeling becomes especially acute in the third story where Gothic ideograms are piled up almost to the point of absurdity – a missing student a sound of unseen insects an empty house a man with one leg and no arms for heaven's sake The conjunction of these things is presented as something to be in some way deciphered but I am a bit doubtful that it can be done – the techniue seems to be about throwing symbols at the reader and hoping some of them stickOf course these issues are one of the dangers with translated fiction in general for all the reasons that this particular translator has laid out in his essay elsewhere Still for all the problems I had with it this kind of storytelling does have its charm and if you like flat deadpan evocations of uotidian unease then you may well get a lot out of this

  4. Teresa Teresa says:

    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 afterwardThere 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 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

  5. Janie C. Janie C. says:

    Yoko Agawa's writing is magnetic Each of the three novellas in this volume pulled me instantly into the lives of the characters Themes of isolation jealousy cruelty and compassion are presented with ease compelling the reader to become involved with personalities either unsavory or benevolent The words fly as graciously as bees and tempt the reader to seek honey in the strangest of places

  6. Blair Blair says:

    Three stories all of which feel unsettling in a way that can be difficult to uantify The main characters might be collectively described as female outsiders two women and one girl all of them lonely detached and concerned with observing rather than participatingIn 'The Diving Pool' teenage Aya focuses her obsessive energies on her foster brother Jun whose body she covets and a little girl named Rie whom she torments 'Pregnancy Diary' again centres on a character who seems overly preoccupied with bodies as the narrator keeps a record of the changes in her pregnant sister's appetite and appearance Both stories feature deeply uncomfortable details – Aya's characterisation of her cruelty to Rie as 'erotic' the sister's repulsive descriptions of food 'Doesn't the sauce on the macaroni remind you of digestive juices?'The weirdest – and best – of the stories is the last 'Dormitory' The narrator is living alone; her husband has moved to Sweden for a job but she's in no hurry to join him ignoring the to do lists he sends her A younger cousin asks her to help him find somewhere to live while he studies in Tokyo and she recommends her old dormitory Run by a triple amputee – whom the narrator refers to simply as 'the manager' – the place is dilapidated and near empty seemingly infested by decay This theme is mirrored in the structure of the story itself as things progressively become stranger and surreal culminating in a bizarre final scene that feels like something from a dream or a nightmareWhile I was reading The Diving Pool I felt a little disappointed I'd heard a lot about Yōko Ogawa's work and the writing didn't seize me as I'd hoped – the style is rather listless an echo of the characters' oddly placid dispositions But now I've spent a bit of time away from it I'm beginning to perceive the details meanings and motifs I didn't notice at first Appropriately given the title these brief cool stories conceal hidden depthsTinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

  7. David David says:

    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 crueltyDormitory Again cruelty in place of communication Loved it Fabulous ending read the last pages four timesIt occurred to me that he was young to have lost so many important things his chicken his girl his father

  8. Kaya Kaya says:

    Despite the fact I find Asian literature a bit unconventional the I read it the I like it This book is no exception It has it all melancholy uestionable 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 starsAya 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 starsThe 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 25 starsAnother 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 uestionable ending I do not understand nor I likeThere is reason that dormity was completely empty ugh

  9. Michael Livingston Michael Livingston says:

    Three cool uncomfortable novellas Ogawa's simple elegant prose makes the darkness at the heart of these stories even stranger

  10. Faye Faye says:

    First read November 2016Rating DNF at 6%I wasn't in the right mood to read this a few years ago so I abandoned it then I'm hoping I enjoy it nowRe read May 2019The Diving Pool 255 starsPregnancy Diary 45 stars Dormitory 455 stars I really liked the second and third stories in this collection which I read for the first time The Diving Pool is definitely my least favourite as the narrator is such an awful human being it makes the story hard to read Dormitory was an absolute favourite; dark and almost gothic part murder mystey and part supernatural I wanted it to be longerOverall rating 45 stars

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