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Authors M-P > Yoko Ogawa

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message 1: by Jessica (last edited Aug 30, 2013 04:23PM) (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 296 comments Yoko Ogawa is the author of over 20 works of fiction and nonfiction. Sadly, only a handful have been translated into English. The list, according to Wiki:

~The Man Who Sold Braces (Gibusu o uru hito, ギブスを売る人, 1998); translated by Shibata Motoyuki, Manoa, 13.1, 2001.
~Transit (Toranjitto, トランジット, 1996); translated by Alisa Freedman, Japanese Art: The Scholarship and Legacy of Chino Kaori, special issue of Review of Japanese Culture and Society, vol. XV (Center for Inter-Cultural Studies and Education, Josai University, December 2003): 114-125. ISSN 0913-4700
~The Cafeteria in the Evening and a Pool in the Rain (Yūgure no kyūshoku shitsu to ame no pūru, 夕暮れの給食室と雨のプール, 1991); translated by Stephen Snyder, The New Yorker, 9/2004.
~Pregnancy Diary (Ninshin karendā, 妊娠カレンダー, 1991); translated by Stephen Snyder, The New Yorker, 12/2005.
~The Diving Pool: Three Novellas (Daibingu puru, ダイヴィング・プール, 1990; Ninshin karendā, 妊娠カレンダー, 1991; Dormitory, ドミトリイ, 1991); translated by Stephen Snyder, New York: Picador, 2008. ISBN 0-312-42683-6
~The Housekeeper and the Professor (Hakase no ai shita sūshiki, 博士の愛した数式, 2003); translated by Stephen Snyder, New York : Picador, 2008. ISBN 0-312-42780-8
~Hotel Iris (Hoteru Airisu, ホテル・アイリス, 1996)
~Revenge, Translated by Stephen Snyder, Picador, 2013


message 2: by Jessica (last edited Aug 30, 2013 04:18PM) (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 296 comments I've read Revenge, Hotel Iris, and The Diving Pool. I was really impressed with her stories and also Hotel Iris. Her novellas I found less powerful. I just got The Housekeeper and the Professor out of the library.
Ogawa is a quiet, elegant and disturbing writer. Even when I don't love her work I find it enormously compelling. She's an original. Hope to find more of hers to read and that more gets translated.


message 3: by Jessica (last edited Aug 30, 2013 06:06PM) (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 296 comments Kenzaburo Oe has said, "Yoko Ogawa is able to give expression to the most subtle workings of human psychology in prose that is gentle yet penetrating."
from Wiki: "The subtlety in part lies in the fact that Ogawa's characters often seem not to know why they are doing what they are doing. She works by accumulation of detail, a technique that is perhaps more successful in her shorter works; the slow pace of development in the longer works requires something of a deus ex machina to end them. The reader is presented with an acute description of what the protagonists, mostly but not always female, observe and feel and their somewhat alienated self-observations, some of which is a reflection of Japanese society and especially women's roles within it. The tone of her works varies, across the works and sometimes within the longer works, from the surreal, through the grotesque and the —sometimes grotesquely— humorous, to the psychologically ambiguous and even disturbing. (Hotel Iris, one of her longer works, is more explicit sexually than her other works and is also her most widely translated.)
A film in French, L'Annulaire (The Ringfinger), based in part on Ogawa's Kusuriyubi no hyōhon (薬指の標本), was released in France in June 2005. Her novel The Housekeeper and the Professor was made into the movie The Professor's Beloved Equation."


message 4: by David (new)

David | 25 comments Yes, I avoided her for a while ... I'm not sure why ... but then read The Diving Pool: Three Novellas and loved it. I now look out for her in all of my used bookshops and I hope, one day, to have "completed". Anyone Kenzaburō Ōe says good things about is someone I admire.

And, of course, Oe "completion" is something I am definitely going for.


message 5: by Jim (new)

Jim David wrote: "Yes, I avoided her for a while ... I'm not sure why ... but then read The Diving Pool: Three Novellas and loved it. I now look out for her in all of my used bookshops and I hope, one day, to have "..."

I just added The Diving Pool to my tbr. Ditto on Oe.

Thanks for the suggestion Jessica!


message 6: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 296 comments Avoidance was probably due to the fact that she's popular and seemingly "light". But she's actually very strange while at the same time, darker than she appears. I strongly recommend her book of stories, 'Revenge.'

I love Oe. Spent some years reading all of his works. I'm sure there are more that I haven't read yet though.


message 7: by David (new)

David | 25 comments Jessica wrote: "Avoidance was probably due to the fact that she's popular and seemingly "light". ..."

I guess so. I remember reading the blurb on "The Housekeeper ... " and thinking it sounded a bit cutesy. I didn't buy it. I read an article recently about publishers' temptations to market any female author as "chick lit". It's been shifting copies, but there are obvious drawbacks.


message 8: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 296 comments I agree. I didn't check it out of my library for the same reason. It wasn't until I read Revenge, and then the other 2, that I went back to get 'The Housekeeper.' Chick-lit + cutesy does not appeal.
She has a slightly "cute" (for lack of better word) edge to her, but there is a creepy underbelly. Which I like.


message 9: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 83 comments Just ordered Revenge in paperback....looking forward to reading some Japanese-style/delicate dark.


message 10: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 296 comments haha! Yay, Carla! Will love to hear what you think.


message 11: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 83 comments I am a huge huge Tanizaki fan...so hoping she captures a bit of that sensibility...


message 12: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 83 comments Actually, I believe that I have read everything by Tanizaki....or at least everything that's been translated into English.


message 13: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 296 comments ah then, you are a Tanizaki completist. :)

I've read only 'The Makioka Sisiters'


message 14: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 83 comments Definitely, a completist for Tanizaki-- wow, The Key, Diary of an Old man, can't do better. (the M. sisters really is an outlier among his works, and not my fave by a long shot.) I've read most of Mishima, maybe all...would have to check...and am about to read Kawabata's last short stories, which are mostly flash by the way.

Japanese sense of weird is so everyday, it's wonderful.


message 15: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 83 comments I believe that after I read Kawabata's stories, I'll have completed everything of his that's available in English as well.


message 16: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 296 comments Yes, I've read those stories of Kawabata, assuming they're the same ones in his volume of 'Palm of the Hand' stories. I really love 'Snow Country' as well as other works of his. Interesting that it's both a novella and a flash (palm of the hand) story. I prefer the long version.
Good to know Makioka Sisters is an outlier. I wasn't in love with it. Should try something else of his, maybe the ones you suggest above.


message 17: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 83 comments Some prefer nettles by Tanizaki is exquisite


message 18: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 296 comments okay, noted.


message 19: by David (new)

David | 25 comments Yes, "Some Prefer Nettles" is by far my favourite Tanizaki and is, perhaps, in my top 5 books-by-a-Japanese author. Absolutely love it.

I'm impressed that you are going for Tanizaki completion, Carla. Check out my Mishima list! It's part of this group.

I will one day do Kawabata (only Palm-of-the-Hand Stories left to go ... I'm a little scared that I'll be disappointed ....)


message 20: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 83 comments I've heard Kawabata's stories are wonderful, so I'm looking forward to them.....apart from completing Kawabata. But Tanizaki has a special quality...Some Prefer Nettles is one of my all time favorites. Mishima is great, too, but he is a wild man!


message 21: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 83 comments Just got Revenge in beautiful paperback edition....first story Afternoon at the Bakery did not disappoint. Am looking forward to reading the rest. She is a very elegant writer.


message 22: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 296 comments Oh good! That first story is one of my favorites. anyway, very glad you agree. so far at least.


message 23: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 83 comments I think the story, The Dustmsn, is very fine and reminiscent of Tanizaki in The Key....formal, muted, estranged, I'm reading these stories alongside the Kawabata "palm of the hand" stories, so that is a nice way to see certain continuities in Japanese fiction.


message 24: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 296 comments I am going to have to buy 'Ravages'. I'd gotten it out of the library. It's my favorite of what I've read by her so far.


message 25: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 296 comments Just finished 'The Housekeeper and the Professor.' It's unlike the other stories and novellas I've read by her as it lacks the creepy edge. It's a lovely story, touching. My own preference is for her other work but I do admire it, and it's interesting to see her range.


message 26: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 83 comments I might like that better. The Gothic edge in these stories sometimes feels forced to me, not stemming from the story itself.


message 27: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 296 comments in some of the stories, yes, I think that's true.

I am appreciating the Housekeeper more since finishing it. I hope you read it.


message 28: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 83 comments Will definitely read it-- she is a worthwhile writer although, as I said before, certain stories felt pushed to me, gimmicky rather than creepy. I think it's sometimes tough when the lead story is far superior to the ones that follow, in a story collection.


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