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Hotel Iris

3.3  ·  Rating details ·  2,799 Ratings  ·  444 Reviews
A tale of twisted love, from the author of The Diving Pool and The Housekeeper + the Professor.
In a crumbling seaside hotel on the coast of Japan, quiet seventeen-year-old Mari works the front desk as her mother tends to the off-season customers. When one night they are forced to expel a middle-aged man and a prostitute from their room, Mari finds herself drawn to the man'
Paperback, 176 pages
Published April 7th 2011 by Vintage (first published 1996)
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Kerry I would guess that he's Japanese. Most of the time, translators translate *from* another language *to* their native language. She also never remarks…moreI would guess that he's Japanese. Most of the time, translators translate *from* another language *to* their native language. She also never remarks on his foreign appearance, which you'd think she would have if he weren't Japanese.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Paquita Maria Sanchez
Fucking is fucking weird. Fact.

Hrm. This one's tough. Just as with Ogawa's novellas, I found myself marveling at her ability to summon gorgeously terrifying, ornate mind-pictures with stark, crisp minimalism. She just chooses all the right words to put next to other words when she makes sentences. Out of words. But not very many words. Gimme that A, professor!

(Here comes the inevitable 3-star) this case, she is using those words and words to make sentences to make paragraphs to make cha
Jr Bacdayan
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Equally intoxicating and disquieting, Hotel Iris is the story of Mari, a 17 year-old girl, her sexual awakening in the hands of a 67 year-old Russian Translator and their consuming sadomasochistic affair that tests the limits of love and desire.

There’s something very straightforward about Yoko Ogawa’s prose that disarms the reader into surrender. Like the powerful voice of the Translator, which Mari finds so spell bounding, Ogawa slowly coaxes us out of our reservations by showing a voice so si
Dhanaraj Rajan
I finished the novel in two sittings. It is very racy - at least i found it that way - and has an engaging plot. But after having finished the story, I am not sure what to make of it.

There are and can be many interpretations.

May be it is a psychological probe into the nature of love, and especially to that aspect which is 'untranslatable'. In this story a young girl of seventeen 'falls in love' with 67 year old man (translator by profession) and this man subjects her to all kind of sexual humil
Sep 26, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
From the age of 12, I have been obsessed with assorted novels revealing love affairs flanked by adolescent girls and older men. Perhaps, due to an discontented teenage fantasy or the fact that reading Marguerite Duras’s 'The Lover' during my 7th grade History class while picturing a virginal 15yr old fucking a 27-yr old Chinese tycoon, made me scribble 'Orgasm' in my notebook. I do not know the precise cause of my addiction, but the sinister juvenile seduction still tantalizes my imagination.

Το ξενοδοχείο Ίρις το αγόρασα μετά από πολύμηνη σκέψη. Δεν ξέρω γιατί είχα δεύτερες (και τρίτες) σκέψεις για την αγορά του μιας και τελικά μου άρεσε πολύ! Στην καρδιά της ιστορίας κρύβεται μια σαδομαζοχιστική σχέση μεταξύ ενός 67χρόνου άντρα και μιας 17χρόνης κοπέλας αλλά πέρα από την βιτσιόζικη αυτή πλευρά της σχέσης τους η συγγραφέας σου δείχνει και την πιο ευαίσθητη και ρομαντική πλευρά της.

Θεωρώ ότι σε πολλούς αρέσει να διαβάζουν που και που για σχέσεις καταδικασμένες ή λίγο εκτός των ορίων,
Viv JM
4.5 stars

I feel a little weird rating this book so highly. I mean, it is a somewhat dark and disturbing tale of a sadomasochistic affair between a 17 year old girl and a much older man!! But the writing is just so breath-taking. There is not a superfluous word in the whole book, and along with the shocking violence and cruelty there somehow manages to be such tenderness and beauty. Not for the faint-hearted, perhaps, but definitely an arresting read. I will certainly be seeking out more of Yoko
Jan 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I find it hard to say I like a book with such subject matter -- a first-person depiction of a young girl seeking out disturbing behavior -- but as with the other works I've read by Ogawa, I can say I admire its deceptively simple prose. (I see I used that exact phrase in my reviews of her Revenge and The Diving Pool: Three Novellas as well.)

Mari, the narrator, doesn't name the other characters. They are their appellations: the translator, the nephew, the maid. Only Mari and the heroine of the Ru
Dec 31, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well....when people referred to this as "Japanese 50 Shades of Grey"....they were right in some ways. Would you all want to see a review of this?
Cam *is the worst*

I had to change the rating of this book. Three stars really weren't enough for this compelling, powerful, sensual and at times very macabre little story.

God, where have I been while all these incredibly talented new Japanese authors were publishing their books?! I was stuck with writers of the past (they're amazing) and didn't think I could've found such a beauty in an author so young!

Ogawa Yoko's writing left me simply mesmerized: simple, yet polished, almost completely free of figures of spee
May 14, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ειλικρινά δυσκολεύτηκα με αυτό το βιβλίο. Κατ' αρχάς το αγόρασα αφού είχα διαβάσει το "Ο αγαπημένος μαθηματικός τύπος του καθηγητή", ένα τρυφερό βιβλίο για τη σχέση μεταξύ ενός ηλικικωμένου μαθηματικού, της οικιακής του βοηθού και του μικρού γιού της. Το "Ξενοδοχείο Ίρις" είναι σα να το έχει γράψει άλλος άνθρωπος. Δεν είναι μόνο ότι περιγράφει την αρρωστημένη σεξουαλική σχέση ενός διεστραμμένου ηλικιωμένου με ένα ευάλωτο δεκαεπτάχρονο κορίτσι, είναι ότι η ηρωίδα (το βιβλίο είναι γραμμένο σε πρώτ ...more
Jul 18, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese
Recommended for those too self-conscious to be seen with a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey. There's even a blurb on the front cover from Hilary Mantel, serving as a literary beard. And actually, there is much in the writing to recommend: a minimalist style that paints mood well, for instance.

Yet, the story, told well, requires some suspension of reality. The images of foreshadowing are not subtle.

Our narrator is a seventeen year-old girl, obsessed with a much, much older sadistic man. This is not
"I'm sorry. Forgive me" They were words I had said over and over to my mother since childhood. Though I'd had no idea what forgiveness meant I had cried for it nonetheless.

Well, this was a bit dark. Scratch that this was all dark, maybe with a few gray tints. I don't mind dark. In fact, I like it, however, I usually take it in large quantities with my horror, mental psychological fictions, and poetry. My dark reads are hardly ever in my literary fiction, erotica, or romance. It's not that I don'
Oo this was good , in fact if I'm honest it was more than good it was excellent. Although not what I'd normally expect from a book labelled as mainstream fiction for me the theme is one of finding who you really, truly are through humiliation. That would lead you to believe that the story falls into the erotic/porn genre but that would be a mistake, because the humiliation as an act is not overly dwelled upon, it's a natural progression of the story, a coming of age story.

Mari works at the famil
Melissa Chung
Jul 12, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
What a strange and twisted piece of literature. I didn't expect this kind of story from Yoko Ogawa. In truth, since I only read one short story book by her, I guess I can't know an author through only one written work. On goodreads 2 stars means it was okay, but in my personal star ratings 2 stars means I didn't like it. So I'm giving this book 3 stars. I am glad I read it, but I would never re-read it.

Hotel Iris is about an old and run down hotel located on the coast of Japan. The hotel used to
Nek0 Neha (BiblioNyan)
Hotel Iris is not a book that everyone can stomach. It can be rather dark and at times brutal, but if you look past the words what you will find is a very deep piece of literature with themes pertaining to sorrow, innocence, and the desire to feel like your existence actually matters.

Yoko Ogawa's prose is so wholly poignant that it will leave you breathless, exhilarated, and astonished. Paintings of vivid emotions and profound longing are swept onto the pages with the use of very simple language
I'm going to go ahead and give this one a big ol' NOPE. I was on board, if bored, until the point when the 67 year old male love (?) interest starts sensually oiling up his mute & no-tongued nephew's body on the beach in front of his 17 year old female lover Mari, making her jealous -- like, really: we're approaching the level of demented for demented's sake by this point.

The old man lover is kind of a terrible person in many ways. Mari is turned on by him because she wants to be submissive
Jun 21, 2015 rated it liked it
This is the first book I’ve read by Yoko Ogawa. I’m not often drawn to Japanese literature but since my book club chose The Housekeeper + The Professor as one of our seven reads for 2015-2016, I decided to buy this one too. The story is about seventeen year old Mari who works in her mother’s shabby little hotel by the seaside called Hotel Iris. The voice of Mari narrates the story in a chilling honesty that is often staggering. She is trapped in the hotel and isn’t allowed to live life very much ...more
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed, may-2017
I had read two of Japanese author Yoko Ogawa's books before making my foray into Hotel Iris: The Housekeeper and the Professor, and Revenge. The Times Literary Supplement writes that in this particular novel, 'Image by perfect image, we are led down into a mysterious and gripping universe, simultaneously beautiful and terrifying'. The Independent goes on to say: 'This is a brave territory for Ogawa, and she manages it with sharp focus; she creates moments of breathtaking ugliness, often when lea ...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Aug 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2010
It's no secret that I like weird. I like confronting. And I like erotic. Hotel Iris is darkly erotic - and if you haven't read anything erotic before, don't confuse "erotic" with "sexy" or "sensuous". They don't necessarily go hand-in-hand, especially when you get a book like Hotel Iris. Erotica is more about the psychology behind our desires and motivations, and understanding our psyche and how we tick - our inherited sense of guilt and shame, especially.

But I don't want to give you the wrong i
Aya Hamza
Holly crap. This book is weird. So weird.

So, this book is about a 17 years old "Mari" who is in love with a (60-70)-ish years old sadistic man.
It is really creepy how Mari is in love with this man in spite of the things he does to her every time.
The book is in Mari's POV so it expressed how she felt toward that man and how she couldn't wait to see him again, which was shocking to me.

I heard people say this is kinda "Japanese Fifty Shades of Grey" and I skipped this one. I don't know if that is t
Nate D
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: boring fantasies
Recommended to Nate D by: lonely hotels
Shelves: japan, read-in-2017
Yoko Ogawa has a fine touch for simple well-formed description and place sense, but this minimalist BDSM love story lacked a necessary complexity and depth to me. I picked this up at the library on whim after a quick blurb scan that suggested that it is an unsettling story set in a seaside hotel, which it was, but it became obvious within the first few pages that it is more specifically the story of a bored, isolated, 17-year-old girl submitting (in the full sense of the word) to a relationship ...more
Feb 26, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, japan
Hmm. I won an advance copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads, and was eager to read it, given its somewhat mysterious blurb. This brief book is lyrical in its presentation and fearless in its exploration of the characters' inner workings, but it's not exactly a pleasant journey.

The story takes place in the eponymous hotel, a small, family-run establishment in a Japanese seaside village. Mari, the seventeen-year-old daughter of the proprietress, runs the front desk and takes care of the
Elizabeth Reuter
One of them most disturbing books I’ve ever read, and probably the most disturbing in the last several years, reading Hotel Iris left me feeling depressed. The story of an unloved girl trapped in a relationship with an old man and the facsimile of love he provides her through grotesque S&M brutalization, Hotel Iris flips back and forth between scenes of our protagonist being yelled at or ignored by her mother and scenes of her (joyful) humiliation and degradation at her lover’s hands.

Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan
I kind of liked this in spite of itself. And by itself I mean the unnecessarily self-loathing bits about bondage and humiliation.

Ogawa has a writerly, palpable sense of the physics of things, the tone, texture and color things that we absorb but don't necessarily process.

And uncharacteristically, for fiction that can manage that kind of understanding of things, this also has an unerring sense of pace and timing that unfolds naturally, with perfect ease and conviction.

That the conception here re
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
But I wanted this body I worshipped to be ugly - only then could I taste my disgrace. Only when I was brutalized, reduced to a sack of flesh, could I know pure pleasure

I wasn't skeptical of how good or bad the book was going to be even though I read a few reviews from goodreads. I feel that most people cannot stand the BDSM aspect of the book because 1.) The girl was 17 and innocent, 2.) The sex was borderline non-consensual, which may have threw off a few people that are not experienced in th
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I read this in a single sitting and holy crap I enjoyed it WAY more than I thought I would.

This book follows a young, 17 year old girl named Mari who lives at a little hotel which she helps run with her mother and a maid whose a kleptomaniac. Mari lives a simple life, not going to school, not having many friends, and just helping around Hotel Iris day after day. Until one night when a strange man and a prostitute cause a commotion that shakes her to her bones - and she meets the man agai
(3,5 stars) Another book that's a bit difficult to rate for me. 3 stars can seem low; I actually enjoyed this book a lot, but I thought I would enjoy it even more. I am always a bit afraid of "kink" books, since there's a fair risk they will just contain a series of colorful sex scenes and little else. As I passed the 25% mark of this book, I believed it would really be an awesomely crafted story which had the best of both worlds. However, it did actually lean a little too much towards the munda ...more
Feb 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Plot aside, I do love the writing. Possibly the translations.
The clear-cut sentences, with just enough descriptions. It makes the story easy to read - almost lyrical, even. I get the sense of naïvety, tenderness, panic, and more.

I read through reviews and some compared this to 50 Shades, sans the young, handsome billionaire.
Say Lee
Apr 29, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Came across this book on a Buzzfeed list for '26 Books From Around The World You Need To Read Before You Die'
I started reading it thinking, wow..this could be like Lolita, if not any weirder.
But, shut the front door!!
This is the ultimate Lolita and Fifty Shades crossover. Weird doesn't event start to describe it. There were multiple instances where I just wanted to stop. The only thing that kept me going were the almost poetic descriptions of scenery and everyday life. The pl
Jan 28, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book was... interesting, but flawed. The interpreter is the best developed character, and is fairly interesting to follow, but the story tends to meander. The sexual scenes do not really seem rooted in any true character development. And, just as the relationship seemed to be getting interesting, the story ended in a dramatic, yet totally unjustified way. There was absolutely no true resolution, none of the characters seemed to truly learn or grow, and the story just stopped. I'm glad that ...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. 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 Fujiwara, a mathematician, as a ...more
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“All these things we had long since forgotten she gathered up one by one in her hands, caressing and warming them until they came back to life. It was as if she had come in place of the goddess of the rainbow to offer her grace and affection. She was perhaps the only one who ever truly loved the Hotel Iris.” 0 likes
“It was as if a tiny crack had opened somewhere in him and was growing, tearing him to pieces. If he had simply been angry, I might have found a way to calm him, but I had no idea how to put him back together once he came apart.” 0 likes
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