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Hotel Iris [Paperback]

Yoko Ogawa , Stephen Snyder
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

7 April 2011
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. Mari begins to visit the mysterious man at his island home, and he initiates her into a dark realm of both pain and pleasure. As Mari's mother and the police begin to close in on the illicit affair, events move to a dramatic climax. By the author of The Housekeeper and the Professor.

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Hotel Iris + The Diving Pool + The Housekeeper and the Professor
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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (7 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099548992
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099548997
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 310,444 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


`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' --The Independent

Book Description

A dark and beautifully written story of a young girl's tragic love triangle with an older man and his young nephew --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars hotel iris 2 May 2011
Ogawa's short novel is set in a Japanese coastal resort town. Which coast it is set on I don't know, but the notion that all those fictional characters who participate in the novel, and the fictional town itself, might no longer exist, adds piquancy to a slight but finely written story of depravity and delinquency. One of the comments in the blurb, by Hilary Mantel, says - "I admire any writer who dares to work on this uneasy territory". This territory being the sexuality of a seventeen year old girl who enjoys, that being the operative word, a fraught and to-most-people's eyes abusive sexual relationship with a man three times her age.

There's much here that seems to resonate with foreign notions of the Japanese psyche. The use of sex as both a complex outlet for power games and a means to excavate the subject's confused interior landscape. Mari, the protagonist, desires the humiliation that her lover, the Russian translator subjects her to. Here is the pertinence of Mantel's comment. It is the kind of book which it might be said could only be published by a female writer, in this day and age. If a man were to suggest that Mari wanted this 'abusive' relationship, exploring it from her point of view, it is hard to think he would be taken seriously and would in all likelihood be read as exploitative. However, in Ogawa's hands, the story is strangely convincing. Mari is never a victim: she remains a level-headed appraiser of her situation, no matter how dangerous. We are in similar territory to the recent film of Norwegian Wood: just because you're going through something difficult and complex doesn't make for an inevitably tragic narrative.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tasty but a bit sadistic 9 Nov 2010
By Ed J
I read this book quickly, partly because I was keen to finish it. Not in a couldn't wait to find out what happened way, nor in a this is bad way but simply beacause it is profoundly unsettling. She writes beautiful, yet creepy descriptions of texture and taste. The story exposes some deeply troubling attitudes to submissive??? sadistic sex. It is well worth a read but be prepared that it is not light read despite its brevity. I would recommend, for those put off by the sound of this story, one of her other stories, The Housekeeper and the Professor - that is truly enchanting.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hotel Iris Review 2 Sep 2011
By Freja
It's a short book, very easy to read and very captivating. The story is strange and a little disturbing at times, but if you like that kind of thing then it's good, I didn't find it overwhelming at all. I believe the plot is similar to that of Lolita.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hotel Iris 21 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This one didn't do it for me. Although Ogawa is writing around an area of dangerous territory, this book lacked the warmth and the emotion of The Housekeeper and the Professor. I felt that there was not enough depth in the main characters and to me it felt like the story never quite reached a plateau. It's as if though we were waiting for something more to happen and then the novel ends abruptly. A complete contrast to the Housekeeper and the Professor with Ogawa employing an alternative writing style!
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