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The Diving Pool: Three Novellas Paperback – Deckle Edge, January 22, 2008
Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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From Publishers Weekly
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“Yoko Ogawa is able to give expression to the most subtle workings of human psychology in prose that is gentle yet penetrating.” ―Kenzaburo Oe, Nobel Prize-winning author of A Personal Matter
“Three beautifully-drawn and genuinely eerie stories. Each one builds an image that you can't quite shake out of your mind.” ―Aimee Bender, author of The Girl in the Flammable Skirt
“What a strange and compelling little volume this is. Yoko Ogawa's fiction is like a subtle, psychoactive drug. Long after you read it, The Diving Pool will remain with you, shifting your vision, eroding your composure, raising questions about even the most seemingly conventional people you encounter. Her gift is to both reveal and preserve the mystery of human nature.” ―Kathryn Harrison, bestselling author of The Kiss
“Ogawa is original, elegant, very disturbing. I admire any writer who dares to work on this uneasy territory--we're on the edge of the unspeakable. The stories seem to penetrate right to the heart of the world and find it a cold and eerie place. There are no narrative tricks, but the stories generate a surprising amount of tension. You feel as if you've touched an icy hand.” ―Hilary Mantel, author of Beyond Black
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Top Customer Reviews
After traipsing through the heart of darkness in humdrum urban Tokyo with these first two stories, you're then easily faked out by "Dormitory," which seems to be falling in the same direction but then throws you for a loop. An offbeat little sketch of a tale, not a single element is jarringly implausible in a discernibly empirical sense and yet the total effect is nonetheless unmistakably surreal. In this as well as a few recognizably typical tropes (inexplicable disappearance, for instance), it could almost be read as a homage to or parody of Murakami Haruki.Read more ›
Ogawa writes with unfettered, graceful prose that is seductive in its softness and simplicity, lending even more shock value to her dark subjects. In the title story, a young girl who grew up in the orphanage run by her parents has grown obsessed with the only boy to ever live there long enough to reach high-school age, and her unfulfilled passions start to emerge in acts of cruelty directed at the home's newest and youngest member. It's disturbing without being exploitative and grotesque.
Amidst the calm writing are often wonderful images, such as a snow storm inside the house or lines like "He reappears out of the foam, the rippling surface of the water gathering up like a veil around his shoulders...." Ahhhhh.
The second story, "The Pregnancy Diaries," tackles a somewhat commonplace subject in a unique way. A woman keeps a journal chronicling her sister's pregnancy, writing about it in terms evocative of science fiction and horror. Yet, Ogawa does so without straining the metaphor or using obvious language.
The final story, "Dormitory," details a woman's return to the spartan housing that was her college apartment, and the strange triple-amputee landlord that lives there. It's a mystery tale, a gothic horror story, and yet also a personal soliloquy. The final image shows her reaching directly in the complex patterns that connect all life.
Wonderful stuff. Deep, yet reads like a breeze. Loved it.
I notice from Crazy Fox's review that I am not the only one to connect Murakami and Ogawa. Crazy Fox suggests, "a few recognizably typical tropes (inexplicable disappearance, for instance), it could almost be read as a homage to or parody of Murakami Haruki. And yet one can't shake the sense that Ogawa is pursuing similar themes of alienation and resentment in a slightly different register here in a way all her own," which I heartily agree with. I disagree, though, that the endings are unconvincing or that the cruelty herein is exaggerated. I think that the characters in this book (Aya, the unnamed part-time worker, and the triple amputee), are desperately reaching out to the world around them, perhaps in the only way that they can. As cheindemer suggests in a review largely identical to Yoko Ogawa's Wikipedia article, "her characters often don't seem to know why they're doing what they are," but this is precisely the point. They don't understand their cruelty. They don't understand why they can't reach out with love, and why their attempts to do so are rebuffed, or meaningless.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Diving Pool is a book containing threee novellas wrapped into one. The first story talks about the young life of Aya as she battles the infatuation she feels for orphan boy,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Naomi
Well written and a must have for any fan of Ogawa and contemporary japanese litterature. The novella format is also great if you're not to fond of brick sized books....Published 9 months ago by Sverre Arnesen
I did not like these stories. They are very well written. Spare, clean and clear. here is something about the good Asian writers that remind me their art work: a sense of careful... Read morePublished 17 months ago by A. Anderson
This collection of three novellas is wonderfully crafted. Each story in its own way deeply melancholic. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Neil Brown
Last year, I read Yoko Ogawa’s newest collection, Revenge – spare and unsettling tales of emotionally damaged individuals that contrast elegant prose with often bizarre... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Jill I. Shtulman
The Diving Pool is a pretty well written book. The author does a good job of completing her ideas and getting to the point of pointing out her beliefs on women's rights. Read morePublished on May 26, 2014 by Neil propst
I came across this collection of three novellas (or three short stories) when I was reading another review of the wonderful “the briefcase” by Hiromi Kawakami, a novel shortlisted... Read morePublished on March 1, 2014 by TonyMess