A disturbing masterpiece of narrative invention and moving storytelling from one of Japan's most highly respected and bestselling writers.
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 weaves a dark and beautiful narrative that pulls together a seemingly disconnected cast of characters. In the tradition of classical Japanese poetic collections, the stories in Revenge are linked through recurring images and motifs, as each story follows on from the one before while simultaneously introducing new characters and themes. Filled with breathtaking images, Ogawa provides us with a slice of life that is resplendent in its chaos, enthralling in its passion and chilling in its cruelty.
“Odd, quirky and unusual, and sure to linger in the mind for days afterwards”
“Tightly constructed, these stories also pack a surprisingly emotional punch. A darkly moving, dazzling and intelligent book”
5 stars, Lady
“Across eleven dark tales, Ogawa has created an entire universe… Revenge is full of beautifully pitched short stories, with a depth that defies brevity, but it also pushed the boundaries of what a collection of short stories can be”
“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”
“Deceptively elegant...written in such lucid, unpretentious language that reading it is like looking into a deep pool of clear water. But even in the clearest waters can lurk currents you don't see until you are in them. Dive into Yoko Ogawa's world...and you find yourself tugged by forces more felt than seen”
New York Times Book Review
“The odd stories of Yoko Ogawa errupt from the ordinary world as if from the unconscious or the grave… Ogawa has said her work is influenced by Haruki Murakami’s magic-realist style. There are fantastic flashes, such as a woman born with a heart outside her body. Yet the overall effect is more David Lynch: the rot that lurks beneath the surface of the world… The result is spectral connectedness. Ms Ogawa understands the consolations of order within apparent randomness”
“Always eerie, often erotic, full of living ghosts and uncanny visitations, Yoko Ogawa’s terse and spooky fiction folds Japan’s supernatural tradition into her idiosyncratic brand of Asian goth”
“Haunting…using economical and precise language, Ogawa conveys intensity of emotion”
Times Literary Supplement
“Like her better-known compatriot Haruki Murakami, Ogawa writes stories that float free of any specific culture, anchoring themselves instead in the landscape of the mind”
Washington Post Book World
“Yoko Ogawa is able to give expression to the most subtle workings of human psychology in prose that is gentle yet penetrating”