5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A Study in Obsession,
This review is from: Hotel Iris (Paperback)
This is a beautifully written little book. Yoko Ogawa has an amazing eye for detail, both in her descriptions of places and scenes, and in extracting details from the lives of her protaganists, and the language is deceptively pellucid.
It is the story of a relationship between the lonely and put upon Mari with a much older man, who is only ever known as, "the translator". The translator has a very bad reputation, and some rather depraved practices. The book leaves many questions unanswered. Is Mari drawn into his world to escape the tedium of her own, is he a father substitute or she seeking revenge for her mother's overbearing control of her life? The reader is left with a lot to ponder upon. Although Mari is of age (at least in most jurisdictions), I couldn't help but draw comparisons between her and Lolita, and how that story might have been told from Lolita's perspective.
Ms Ogawa skilfully builds up a feeling of claustrophobia and foreboding as the tension mounts, and complications with the translator's nephew ensue. Alas, without giving anything away, the ending was sudden and brutal. That's why I give this book four stars rather than five. It is well written, the characterisation is excellent, but I like books to end with at least a tiny glimmer of hope, but this one didn't. If you can overlook that flaw, this is well worth a read.