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The Diving Pool
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 25 September 2010
I thought this small collection of short stories was excellent - I read it all in one afternoon, as I couldn't put it down! The stories are told in quite a 'dreamy' way, typically by quite lonely characters who have thoughts that are dark (but aren't actually shocking - I found it surprisingly easy to empathise with the characters). Separately, the setting (Japan) and the author's style were both an interesting change from what I'm used to, and the writing is very crisp.

I don't think it would be for everyone - I suspect the stories and style would be either really appealing, or have no impact at all, depending on the reader. The closest thing I can think of that is like it is The Hours (Michael Cunningham).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 28 December 2011
There are three short stories in this volume all about 50 pages each. They are all quite different but the quality of the writing is outstanding throughout. The Diving Pool features a rather nasty person who inflicts suffering on others. The things they do made me feel nervous as I didn't see how this story could end with any sort of resolution, but then a few choice words spoken by another character just changed the whole pitch of the story and change it to give the story a shape and an suitable ending. The second Pregnancy Diary showed a subtle and gradual change in the stories narrator from acceptance of the demands and behaviour of their pregnant sister to disgust and revulsion. The real success of this story was how the transition occurred so subtle and graceful hardly being aware that perfectly normal annoyance and frustration were turning into resentment and disgust. The final story Dormitory was a pleasant enough story but I thought it was the weakest until I got to the last 4 pages when a few words again changed the whole tone of the story and I started to wonder if I had missed all the subtle clues that were pushing me to the intense and tragic conclusion I was reaching. I was a real pleasure to read these short stories and it is a real tribute to the author as well as the skills of the translator that the great subtly of the writing was preserved in translation.
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on 15 December 2014
This collection of three novellas is wonderfully crafted. Each story in its own way deeply melancholic.

The Diving Pool

This title story is by far my favourite because in my usual state of desensitization to most emotional upheaval this story genuinely made me squirm; it made me feel uncomfortable. It is the story of infatuation and torture, jealousy and vindictiveness. A young girl lusts from a far and takes her frustrations out on a baby, actions that lead to near tragic consequences and undermine her bid to win her lover.

Pregnancy Diary

This story describes the changes that women go through during pregnancy: the morning sickness, the cravings, the mood swings and heightened sense of smell. It describes in details the lunacies that often accompany pregnancy, the fears and questions that haunt expectant mothers.

Dormitory

This story is told from the point of view of a bored housewife, scared and reluctant to begin her life in a foreign and alien country. After recommending the old dormitory to a cousin she begins a relationship with the strange manager there. She learns some scary gossip, gossip that leads her to making a discovery.

This is another well written story but I found the ending a little confusing and a little disappointing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 October 2014
Such a pity: the writing is beautiful. However in the stories there is the presence of evil : the worst of all: child abuse. I was beginning to think I had found a wonderful new author as I loved reading the stories until I got to the subject matter which seems to fascinate Yoko: how human beings can be so cruel. I guess this is life but oh how I wish I could have escaped by reading these stories without the cruelty.
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on 25 June 2015
Three twisted, chilling, slightly surreal stories. Yoko Ogawa has recently become one of my absolute favourite writers. Each tale is about a young woman suffering from some form of loneliness or isolation. Whilst at first we sympathise with their unusual situations, our sympathy soon turns to horror as we see the dark acts their predicaments bring out in them: cruelty, deception and possibly insanity. A must-read for anyone with a taste for the different or psychologically chilling.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 5 August 2008
If you picked up 'The Diving Pool' because of it's promise to be disturbing, you won't be disappointed. I was expecting to be slightly horrific to read but it wasn't. In fact I sometimes found myself a little disinterested in the book, however within 10 minutes of having put the book down, I was compelled to pick it back up again. It wasn't that I particularly enjoyed the book, it's just that I HAD to finish it!! Very disconcerting. There's no murder, blood, gore etc, which is good because that really isn't the kind of book I'd be interested in, the horror takes place more in the reader's mind as you are privy to dark thoughts of the narrator. The scariest thing about the book is that sometimes you actually sympathise with the narrator and almost justify their actions/thoughts. Worrying, and definitely not a holiday read!!!
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on 16 January 2015
UNIQUE AND DISTURBING.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 August 2014
I did not find this story engaging at all. It is too long and wordy and does not go straight to the point. With pages and pages of little action it is hard to get truly involved.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2013
one of the best Japanese authors I have read, all of them definitely recommended. You will enjoy the style and substance of these novels
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