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Revenge

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3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  2,383 ratings  ·  405 reviews
Sinister forces draw together a cast of desperate characters in this eerie and absorbing novel from Yoko Ogawa.

An aspiring writer moves into a new apartment and discovers that her landlady has murdered her husband. Years later, the writer’s stepson reflects upon his stepmother and the strange stories she used to tell him. Meanwhile, a surgeon’s lover vows to kill him if he
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Paperback, 162 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by Picador (first published 1998)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kris
Yoko Ogawa has made a name for herself as a writer who can unsettle her readers with her precise, detailed, impassive prose. Two of her previously published books, Hotel Iris: A Novel and The Diving Pool: Three Novellas, introduce themes of unsettled families, unhealthy relationships between characters and food, and sado-masochism. (Another of her novels, The Housekeeper and the Professor, is a much gentler story, showing Ogawa's range as a writer.) In Revenge: Stories, Ogawa revisits her earlie ...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
If I were rating this against the other Ogawa books I've read then I'd probably go lower with the stars, but as a standalone it is no more and no less than meh, fine by me. It is just fine, a "woo" without an exclamation point. A straight-faced, monotone "woo" probably accompanied by a lethargic blink and some dried up streamlets of slobber. Seriously, it is totally just fine.

The thing with Ogawa that I love is the way she renders a scene. She's makes these little minimalist snapshots in these m
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Lynne King

It was the title that struck me first of all, that of "Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales” and so on a whim I purchased it. I had never heard of Yoko Ogawa before.

What an extraordinary selection of eleven short stories and what an imagination the author has.

One of my two favourites was "Old Mrs J" and what a lot she has to hide. For a start, the death of her husband is quite a mystery.

Imagine “a carrot in the shape of a hand”. Well I kept on thinking about that and wondered what could possibly result fr
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Teresa
Nov 25, 2014 Teresa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Teresa by: Kris
I admire writers who can write such deceptively simple sentences and with no exposition make everything clear that they want to be clear. Ogawa, at least with these stories, is one of those writers, yet she doesn't want everything to be clear, another thing I admire. I especially loved her subtle, wicked sense of humor, even about herself, or at least about writers.

Each story from the first to the last is linked either by a mysterious happening or, in some cases, what seems like the passing of a
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Michael
An aspiring writer moves into a new apartment and discovers that her landlady has murdered her husband. Years later, the writer’s stepson reflects upon his stepmother and the strange stories she used to tell him. Yoko Ogawa weaves together a collection of short stories to create a haunting tapestry of death.

While this is a collection of short stories, Yoko Ogawa has managed to link each story with the last with recurring images and motifs. Apparently this is an old tradition from classical Japan
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Hadrian
A short collection of intertwined stories. Ogawa has a sparse style which creates the first impression of an ordinary banal existence, but she also has this subtle way of making each story grow more unsettling. Ogawa is not the type of horror author who parades blood and guts, but they have a creeping unknowable mystery about their stories.
Nancy Oakes
Seriously I have never in my life felt so off kilter during and after reading a book as I did with this one. It is truly a masterpiece of darkness like I've never seen before. You can read my discussion of this book here. My advice: go get a copy now.

Bonnie Brody
Revenge by Yoko Ogawa is an extraordinary book. It is a compilation of eleven different tales, all subtly connected and poison to the core. The tales reverberate from the gothic to the horrific and some times are pastoral and at other times scream frantically.

There are a few stories that are connected by a chicken. A chicken may have its feet cut off or its chicken-like feet all shaped liked carrots. Another story is about a surgeon who has a patient with a heart growing out of her body. The sur
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Gerry O'Malley
Feb 09, 2013 Gerry O'Malley rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Horror fans and fans of short stories.
I'm not sure why the English language version of this short-story collection was re-titled REVENGE. None of the stories have anything to do with that which is best served cold. The Japanese title is KAMOKU NA SHIGAI, MIDARA NA TOMURAI, which roughly translated means "A Quiet Corpse, An Erotic Funeral", which is a much better description of this exquisitely creepy collection of moody and dark, interconnected little stories. Yoko Ogawa can do in 11 pages what Stephen King does in 50 - make that in ...more
Jason
4.5. it deserves a re-read since the frail, gentle connections between the stories were overshadowed by the more overt, forced ones. Simple in prose and calm and succinct in writing style....succulent. did you ever notice the pipe in the mouth of the man, forefront, second to the far right, black top hat in Bal au moulin de la Galette, Montmartr? No? Look again...




But surely you noticed the two lovers dancing, stolen in a moment, rather large negative space between them and others.... eyes forwar
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Tina
Revenge is a collection of 11 short stories that only one word could describe best--weird. Although each individual piece tells a different story told from the perspective of a different person (and can pretty much stand on its own), you'd really soon find out that all of these pieces are connected in a way that transforms this little book from a collection of short stories into something that kind of makes up a short novel but not exactly. Each next piece in this book tells a story that is some ...more
Jessica
Certain of these stories I'd give 5 stars, but most of them, 3 or 4. "Afternoon at the Bakery" is a terrific quietly haunting story but none of the other stories seemed to carry the same quiet intensity. "Old Mrs J" I had loved--it's wonderfully strange and memorable--when I read it in The New Yorker or Harper's (I was sure it was NYer, but the books says it came out in Hrpr's) but it's been edited since, it's shorter and to my mind, less wonderful.
I like how the stories interweave; kiwis in on
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Diane S.
This grouping of clever and gracefully written stories, I really enjoyed. It was fantastic how the author weaved something from one of the stories into another, it was almost like receiving a King cake at Mardi Gras, and discovering the prize. Some were about revenge but others were just deliciously creepy. I think these were some of my favorites so far.
Jill
It is rare to use the words “elegant” and “horror” in the same description. The fact is, REVENGE claims a unique territory through the juxtaposition of horror and understated elegance. I have never read anything quite like it before.

The eleven stories in this slim collection comprise a tapestry, interwoven with the appearance of the same characters, themes, and props. In the very first story – the most poignant – a pathologically grieving mother fulfills a yearly ritual of purchasing two strawbe
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Kimbofo
Dec 07, 2014 Kimbofo rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes Japanese fiction, short stories or metafiction
A couple of years ago I read Yoko Ogawa's Hotel Iris, a strangely beguiling and disturbing novel about an unhealthy relationship between a young woman and an older man.

Her latest book, Revenge, is just as beguiling and just as disturbing. It is published in the UK tomorrow (January 31), but it was first published in her native Japan in 1998 — I'm glad I wasn't holding my breath for the English translation! I do, however, think it was worth the wait.

But first, let's get one thing clear. Revenge i
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Sarah
After being disappointed with Yoko Ogawa's novel Hotel Iris I was a bit skeptical about this one.
Gladly it proved me wrong.
At first I thought I was reading short stories. but after I started the second story, I felt I was reading a novel with different titles for each chapter. yet they were actually short stories.... I don't know anymore ~

What blew my mind while reading was how each story is connected with the others by a simple tiny easy to miss detail; like Kiwis, tomatoes, a tiger and so on
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Karen
I read Ogawa's popular novel The Housekeeper and the Professor in a sort of "oh well" kind of way--and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I expected it to be sentimental and saccharine, and found instead that it was a simple story well told. Still, I was surprised to see that she has a collection of horror stories. Somehow I wasn't expecting that, from the author of a bestselling "enchanting story about what it means to live in the present, and about the curious equations that can create a ...more
Stephen
I enjoyed Yoko Ogawa's novel "The Housekeeper and the Professor," but I think "Revenge," her collection of eleven short stories is even better. I am almost tempted to call this collection a "novel" because in strange, sometimes unexpected ways, these stories touch upon one another. In one story, for example, a couple happens upon a vacant building in which there is a huge pile of kiwi fruit. In a subsequent story, an elderly women with kiwi trees, regularly puts the ripe fruit in a box and myste ...more
Mariah
Jun 09, 2013 Mariah rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Mariah by: Newspaper Review
Shelves: read-more-2013
Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales was a very interesting and ultimately unique collection of short stories translated from Japanese. Each story is an individual dark tale, following a different character. However, and this was one thing I really loved about the book, each story is connected in someway, be it strongly or loosely (e.g., an event is mentioned, a character reappears, reoccurring places and things, etc). The stories didn't really start out too dark, but they got...not exactly darker...but o ...more
Chad Post
"Later, in my room, I read 'Afternoon at the Bakery.' It was about a woman who goes to buy a birthday cake for her dead son. That was the whole story. I should have gone back to my article, but I read her novel through twice, finishing for the second time at 3:00 am. The prose was unremarkable, as were the plot and characters, but there was an icy current running under her words, and I found myself wanting to plunge into it again and again."

This passage is almost a perfect description of Ogawa's
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M
It's not often I finish a book and then immediately want to start reading it again. But this book, much like a good movie and Daniel Craig, is not something to be experienced only once. The stories interlink in a very subtle, clever way, so the book of stories begins to feel like a huge world you're slowly discovering. The more you read, the more secrets you discover, and I suspect on a second or third read you'd learn even more. The stories are dark, but uplifting, and very original. A stunning ...more
Antonomasia
Apr 10, 2014 Antonomasia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Antonomasia by: Independent Foreign Fiction Prize longlist 2014
Elegant horror: several have said so before, but these words sum up Ogawa's book of short stories perfectly. (Incidentally very few of the stories are about revenge; it looks like the English translators were stumped given that the original title means something like "Reticent Corpse, Indecent Burial" or "Quiet Corpse, Erotic Funeral", to quote a couple of online sources. Here that wouldn't be likely to sell much outside the goth market.) And it's easy to see why Ogawa has been called the Japane ...more
Claire McAlpine
With fine thread-like links Ogawa has created an enticing collection of stories, that are not only a pleasure and gripping to read, but are inspiring to someone who continues to try and write stories. There is much to be learned from this master, just wonderful how she uses the same theme to write so many variations. As haunting as ever.

Full review here at Word by Word
Lisa
So why did I break my own rule about not reading short stories and try Revenge by Yoko Ogawa when the opportunity arose? It was because I have read so little Japanese literature. I enjoyed The Briefcase by Hiromi Kawakani when I read it for the Shadow Man Asian Award Jury and Ogawa is admired by Kenzaburō Ōe, who won the Nobel prize for Literature. According to the GoodReads about Ogawe

Kenzaburō Ōe has said, ‘Yoko Ogawa is able to give expression to the most subtle workings of human psychology i
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erin
This strange book of stories is beautiful, artful, and most of all, haunting.

Nothing is what it seems in Yoko Ogawa's Revenge. I found myself enthralled by the undercurrent of suspense evident in each story, so much so that I was several stories in before I began to truly recognize and appreciate Ogawa's style. One of the things I loved about this book is they way each story was a slice of life that became surreal, menacing, and painful in a way that relies heavily on the narrator's psychology (
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Laura Leaney
Many critics and reviewers have already written brilliantly on Yoko Ogawa's writing, and I feel sure that I won't be able to add much else. I agree with The Guardian that "she possesses an effortless, glassy, eerie brilliance," and I agree with Elle magazine that the prose is "exquisitely disturbing." The stories each feature a first person narrator, whose gender is usually hard to immediately identify, and all of them are fastened together by something shared. The same bakery shows up in many o ...more
Nicholas
Revenge is filled with the muted supernaturalism that is typical of the Japanese horror genre. Subtly executed and mysterious, each of the eleven tales are linked by character, theme and events creating a tangled web of relationships that you can almost begin to anticipate, but tend to surprise you nonetheless. I'm not quite sure I'd have titled the collection "Revenge," although certainly the idea features prominently in a couple of the stories. More profound than the aspect of revenge is the a ...more
Juushika
Eleven interconnecting short stories of carrots shaped like human hands, a heart which grows outside the chest, and suddenly, violently jealous lovers weave a beautiful but ill-constructed web. Ogawa's voice inspires adjectives: delicate, cold, macabre. Something unsettling runs through this collection, a horrific magical realism that vacillates between brutal and subtle; at its best it's discomforting and emotionally resonant: an uncommon horror rooted in the most banal of human evils. But each ...more
Alex Telander
For Haruki Murakami fans who enjoy his unique blend of the dark and bizarre, Yoko Ogawa is definitely an author you’ll want to check out. Revenge, a collection of eleven of her short stories, reveals that this is a genre of Japanese literature that will grab you with its claws and suck you in.

A young nurse in love with a brilliant surgeon threatens to kill him if he does not leave his wife. A writer living in a strange apartment block learns that the landlady is a murderer. In the most moving ta
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Sprout117
I tried to read this book twice mainly due to the rave reviews and numerous times I've seen it mentioned in magazine. Much to my dismay I truly didn't enjoy the stories. Yes, each short story was connected to the last or another story-something that I found clever and my main reason for continuing. And yes, each story did have a clever twist (aha moment) and a creepy gothic feel. Despite the presence of these two very interesting aspects of the story I couldn't help but be somewhat bored/disinte ...more
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Yōko Ogawa (小川 洋子) was born in Okayama, Okayama Prefecture, graduated from Waseda University, and lives in Ashiya with her husband and son. Since 1988, she has published more than twenty works of fiction and nonfiction. Her novel The Professor and his Beloved Equation has been made into a movie. In 2006 she co-authored „An Introduction to the World's Most Elegant Mathematics“ with Masahiko Fujiwar ...more
More about Yōko Ogawa...
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“For a torture to be effective, the pain has to be spread out; it has to come at regular intervals, with no end in sight. The water falls , drop after drop after drop, like the second hand of a watch, carving up time. The shock of each individual drop is insignificant, but the sensation is impossible to ignore. At first, one might manage to think about other things, but after five hours, after ten hours, it becomes unendurable. The repeated stimulation excites the nerves to a point where they literally explode, and every sensation in the body is absorbed into that one spot on the forehead---indeed, you come to feel that you are nothing but a forehead, into which a fine needle is being forced millimeter by millimeter. You can’t sleep or even speak, hypnotized by a suffering that is greater than any mere pain. In general, the victim goes mad before a day has passed.” 6 likes
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