Sinister forces draw together a cast of desperate characters in this eerie and absorbing novel from Yoko Ogawa.
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. Meanwhile, a surgeon’s lover vows to kill him if he does not leave his wife. Before she can follow-through on her crime of passion, though, the surgeon will cross paths with another remarkable woman, a cabaret singer whose heart beats delicately outside of her body. But when the surgeon promises to repair her condition, he sparks the jealousy of another man who would like to preserve the heart in a custom tailored bag. Murderers and mourners, mothers and children, lovers and innocent bystanders—their fates converge in a darkly beautiful web that they are each powerless to escape.
Macabre, fiendishly clever, and with a touch of the supernatural, Yoko Ogawa’s Revenge creates a haunting tapestry of death—and the afterlife of the living.
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After Googling lists of must-read dark fiction written by female authors, I stumbled upon this book. The title and description intrigued me, so I gave it a shot, not expecting anything in particular. Turns out, I wasn’t disappointed.
Now, if you’re the type of reader who needs a concrete plot with a somewhat predictable roadmap of where you’re headed, then this is probably not for you. Ogawa is all about mood, atmosphere, and sneaking up on you with moments of unsettling weirdness.
Although this book isn’t overly gory or violent, it’s entirely capable of getting under your skin. An economy of words paint every scene. Dialogue is used only when necessary. And each chapter manages to host its own voice. As viewpoints shifted, I was fully immersed in that new perspective.
Yet, all the individual vignettes overlap with one another. Not only did I get lost in what was happening, but I found myself peeking around every corner for clues as to how each story relates to previous ones. In fact, I think I’d like to re-read this book at some point to see if I can piece together any details that I missed. So, if you’re someone who stops and starts, leaving long gaps in-between reading, you will probably miss out on making some of those connections. And, they are so clever that it’s what really makes this book one to add to your TBR pile. Don’t get me wrong. The scenarios and characters are imaginative and haunting. And common themes unite them. However, I really appreciate how the author took it to the next level by weaving such a dark, brooding, creepy web for us to experience.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐