REVIEW: Revenge by Yoko Ogawa
While the title is a bit misleading, there is very little revenge between the covers, my experience reading Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales by Yoko Ogawa was wonderful! Sometimes a book appears in the right place at the right time in life. Overall, I'd probably rate the stories 3 and 4 stars, but the way I felt reading them makes this a 5 star for me. It's hard to pin down such nebulous "feelings" but when it hits you just know.
Now, I don't want to reveal too much about the stories because they are short and telling too much would kind of ruin one's enjoyment, but my favorite aspect of this book was the interconnectedness. Ogawa skillfully weaves her characters lives together, though some stories have a thinner thread than others. After reading about half the book, I began eagerly turning the page looking for that "Aha!" moment that connected a tale to another earlier on. It was a bit like playing detective and searching for the clues. I read through this collection quite quickly, which I think helped me spot the linking details.
The tone of this short story collection walks the line between macabre and horror. There is just enough description to make the reader uneasy but not enough to take it over the line into gross-out territory. Short sentence structures and simple word choices add to the tense tone, but I don't know if this is due to Ogawa's writing style or Stephen Snyder excellent translation.
Revenge definitely offers a true sensory experience. This is a book to be savored and being present in the moment just adds to the reading. If you participate in the R.I.P Challenge around Halloween then I would add this one to your list. I plan to reread this collection again this fall to see how well it holds up.