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Revenge

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  8,984 ratings  ·  1,430 reviews
A woman goes into a bakery to buy a strawberry cream tart. The place is immaculate but there is no one serving so she waits. Another customer comes in. The woman tells the new arrival that she is buying her son a treat for his birthday. Every year she buys him his favourite cake; even though he died in an accident when he was six years old.

From this beginning Yoko Ogawa w
...more
Paperback, 162 pages
Published January 31st 2013 by Harvill Secker (first published 1998)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  8,984 ratings  ·  1,430 reviews


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Kat
Feb 24, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
these stories are all good. they have strong concepts and it was especially cool to see the characters intertwine throughout, but also i feel very neutral about the collection?????? i just kept WAITING for something i read to really leave a mark, but just like the memory police last year i was very detached from it all.

not gonna stop reading ogawa yet tho. something's gonna hit eventually, i can feel it.
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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
Amalia Gkavea
‘’Why was everyone dying? They had all been so alive just yesterday.’’

Yoko Ogawa creates a dark wonder of sadness, loneliness and unsettling desires in Revenge, a collection of eleven seemingly disconnected stories. However, as is always the case with Ogawa’s work, nothing is as it seems and the tales are written in a ‘’ matryoshka’’ style. Each story is connected to the previous one via a characteristic feature. You will discover the clues as you go along the way, as pain, oblivion and deat
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Jaidee
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: four-stars-books
4.13 "provocative, surreal, interconnected" stars !!

The Pleasant Surprise Award of 2019


This short story collection by Ms. Ogawa, published in 1998 was highly creative and somewhat bizarre. Themes of disconnection, hurt and various forms of revenge permeate this group of stories. Each story is linked to others and it is difficult and challenging to tease out which ones are based on reality and which are imaginal or perhaps even supernatural. All but one story ranged from excellent to superb. Tha
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Robin
Last year, I found a new literary love - Yōko Ogawa. I adored her dystopian, poetic The Memory Police. Then I was blown away by her ruthless Hotel Iris. I love how she is able and willing to create meaningful stories with a darkly wise perspective, and without a trace of North American squeamishness. So I wasted little time to pick up her short story collection Revenge.

The collection is written in her trademark simple elegance (and translated by the marvellous Stephen Snyder). And it's kinda "Ol
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Jamie
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2017
One of my favorite books this year. Every story was dark and had a somber feel to them, all the while, every short story linking perfectly to one another.
Henk
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the mundane to the creepy in eleven tales of loss of, and separation from, loved ones
The prose was unremarkable, as were the plot and characters, but there was an icy current under her words, and I found myself wanting to plunge into it again and again.

From a story centered around a mother trying to order strawberry shortcakes for the birthday of her son (who is coincidentally dead, having suffocated in a refrigerator) to a landlord who turns out to be a murderer, the tales in Revenge have
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Brina
Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novella, mystery, japan
I took advantage of leap year 2020 to get a head start on my women’s history month reads. In the past year reading books by women around the world has been lacking, so I decided to make this year’s lineup more diverse. All through March, I will be reading books written by women, mainly about women, some fiction, and many biographies and memoirs. Over the last five years one of the books that sticks out for me is The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa. This touching story is centered aro ...more
Lynne King
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories

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
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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Paquita Maria Sanchez
Compared to other Ogawa books this one is weak, 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 muted pastels like polaroids, but with horrifying subject
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JimZ
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was fantastic. Read it in one sitting... It was so good/interesting how she weaved these 11 stories together. The stories were separate from each other (they were standalone stories) but connected. I find the concept very appealing....if any other readers could tell what any other short story collections where I can find this writing style I would appreciate it! I got the novel, The Wonder Years (Lauren Acampora) under the promise of a similar style (intersecting lives of one small town...t ...more
Jr Bacdayan
This is a fascinating collection that weaves together the lives of broken people unable to cope with lingering memories and pains. United by a sense of commonality in the quest of gaining triumph against their personal devils, the stories move hauntingly, enveloped with an off-kilter atmosphere, told with a chilling precision often eerie. There is even a dreadful sense of self-awareness in the collection when one story would be read or alluded to in another. Ogawa also manages to playfully inser ...more
Anish Kohli
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anish by: Horus
This is a BR. Nooooo. Not a Buddy Read. Did you notice the “is”? It’s a Buddy Review!! With the most awesome Sillyhead and it was her idea too! She’s pretty great dumb like that!! We read the book like a month apart but we are posting our reviews together today. In a way I am glad we’re starting both our booky years in this fashion. May there be several more such reviews and reads together!

Here goes the review:

You know what’s so wonderful about being here on GR? I mean, I know there are like a
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Rachel
Revenge is a gentle and unsettling collection of interconnected short stories focused mainly on death and grief and an inner darkness that plagues its eleven different narrators. Both melancholy and macabre in tone, these stories range from heart-wrenching to disturbing, each narrated in an eerily calm and poised tone. This was absolutely engrossing and I'm keen to check out more of Yoko Ogawa's work. ...more
Konstantin
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

The author could have easily been describing her own book with the quote above.

I loved how everything came together in the tenth story - all the various settings, characters and stories. The style is slightly disquieting, but nonetheless Ogawa immaculately controlled it. All of the shared elements were smoothly conveye
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Yamna
Favourite of the year

Have you ever read a story and realized that it has the power to completely restructure your thoughts?
If only I had words to describe Revenge. But for the first time in a long, long while, I’ve realized I am speechless .

This book…where do I even start?

I’m buying them for my son. Today is his birthday.”
“Really? Well, I hope it’s a happy one. How old is he?”
“Six. He’ll always be six. He’s dead.”"


Before I delve into the review, allow me to give a shout out to ViratKa
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Sofia
What if horror wasn't scary?

That defeats the point, you might say. After all, what's the purpose of reading a horror novel if it doesn't disturb you in the slightest?

But could an almost pacifying thriller ever qualify as a good book?

I would argue yes.


Revenge tries too hard to be horrific. Following the stories of seemingly unrelated people and the gruesome events that tie them all together, it would seem as if this is the type of story that leaves you wide awake in the middle of the night, co
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Trudie
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was suggested to me by my wonderful local bookshop lady and she certainly pushed me in a direction I don't normally go, namely translated short stories.
Ogawa starts most of these tales very matter-of-factly, calm sensory descriptions, leaves fluttering, people reading or going about their daily activities but something always feels slightly eerie and it is hard to put your finger on what. Eventually, the weirdness escalates in utterly unpredictable ways. The things that happen are odd
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Anna Luce

Having read two novels by Yōko Ogawa, I was curious to read Revenge, a collection of interconnected short stories. Ogawa's magnifies the sense unease that usually permeates her narratives (even The Housekeeper and the Professor has its unsettling moments), as these stories seem intent on unnerving their readers. The characters within these pages are morbid, obsessive, prone to macabre thoughts and obscure actions.
What drew me the most was to 'discover' what linked these various characters togeth
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The Artisan Geek
1/5/20
I thought this was an amazing collection of short stories. I read The Memory Police and Revenge almost back to back, and this was definitely more to my liking. I have a weak spot for interconnectivle short stories and this was an example of one that held my attention for the entire ride. I think that this would also serve well as an introduction to Japanese horror.

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Diane S ☔
Jan 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
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.
Nancy Oakes
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese-fiction
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.

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Nicky
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These short stories are deceptively simple yet very cleverly linked. It's a wee bit disturbing and eerie but I loved it! ...more
Brown Girl Reading
Aug 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like Japanese Lit and creepy books
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Ogawa never ceases to amaze me with her capacity to tell an interesting story. This is a collection of short stories that are linked. Each one has a bit of creepy in it. The way they link together is genius. I can't wait to read more of her novels. Ogawa is making me curious to check out more modern Japanese authors. Definitely worth the time and it's a very quick read since it's only 162 pages. ...more
Viv JM
I think the adjective I would use to describe these interlinked short stories is "unsettling". Dark and odd, with beautifully sparse prose, these stories really got under my skin. ...more
Katie Lumsden
May 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-stars
Absolutely fantastic. A wonderful collection of interconnected short stories, startling brilliant narratives weaved subtly together. The writing is smooth and well-done throughout, and for a collection full of murder, revenge and dark, unsettling themes, it manages to be surprisingly poignant and moving as well. Absolutely worth a read!
Laysee
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laysee by: Marita
Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales by Yoko Ogawa is a collection of delectably disturbing stories. I read one or two stories at a time like a wickedly good dessert.

The prose is clean and simple. The characters in the stories are unremarkable people who have their fair share of disappointments and heartaches in life. The eleven stories feature spurned lovers, spouses left in the cold, abandoned or dead children. Each story picks up an innocuous detail in a previous story (e.g., a proprietor of a cake sho
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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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Mairi
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful, but very disturbing book. The giveaway should have been the very first story in this collection, a woman arrives at a bakery to buy a strawberry tart for her son's birthday. Except, her son has been dead for many years. The tale comes 360 degrees, flitting from character to character connected by setting, circumstance, time, or physical distance. There are no happy endings in this story, only a growing sense of unease and beautiful prose. ...more
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Japanese Literature: 7/20 Revenge by Yoko Ogawa 40 80 Aug 01, 2020 11:41AM  
Play Book Tag: Revenge by Ogawa - 4 stars 2 22 Oct 03, 2017 07:26AM  

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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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“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.” 14 likes
“When I’m curled up in his arms like this, I can never tell how my body looks to him. I worry that I seem completely ridiculous, but I have the ability to squeeze into any little space he leaves for me. I fold my legs until they take up almost no room at all, and curl in my shoulders until they’re practically dislocated. Like a mummy in a tomb. And when I get like this, I don’t care if I never get out; or maybe that’s exactly what I hope will happen.” 6 likes
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