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.
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The odd stories of Yoko Ogawa irrupt 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 - Economist
There are no perfect endings and certainly no heroes, just a series of interconnected lives in the city, as strange and morbid as each other but absorbing and beautiful - Irish Examiner
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...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
Revenge provides snapshots of the lives of several characters and their unsettling tales, woven together in a seamless web of elegant narrative… absorbing and beautiful in equal measure - Press Association
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 - Independent
Yoko Ogawa is an absolute master of the Gothic at its most beautiful and dangerous, and Revenge is a collection that deepens and darkens with every story you read. -
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 -
Yoko Ogawa is able to give expression to the most subtle workings of human psychology in prose that is gentle yet penetrating -
Yoko Ogawa has won every major Japanese literary award including the Akutagawa and the Tanizaki Prizes. Her fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, A Public Space, and Zoetrope. Her works include The Diving Pool, a collection of three novellas, The Housekeeper and the Professor and Hotel Iris.