Hotel Iris is a story about the friendship between an elderly man only known as the translator and 17-year-old Mari. After a scandalous event that happened in Mari’s mother’s hotel between this elderly man and a prostitute, things started to change for her. Mari was strongly drawn to this man’s voice and has gotten very curious. They eventually became friends and things got much deeper and darker in this friendship.
Mari’s monotonous life changed. She started telling lies to her mother in order to excuse herself from working in the hotel and be able to meet the translator until finally, she found herself in his place on the island which made her explore the nature of desire and pleasure but also of pain and humiliation.
This is my second Yoko Ogawa read, next to The Housekeeper and The Professor. The author’s writing talent is quite evident in every line and I love how she portrays her characters.
Hotel Iris is not something I’d recommend to everyone but if you want something that will make you feel and think, this book is for you.
“I beg of you to go on living in this world I inhabit. I suppose you find this a rather ridiculous request, but to me it is of the utmost importance that you simply exist.”
“He had undressed me with great skill, his movements no less elegant for all their violence. Indeed, the more he shamed me, the more refined he became — like a perfumer plucking the petals from a rose, a jeweler prying open an oyster for its pearl.”
“I was confused and afraid, and yet somewhere deep inside I was praying that voice would someday give me an order, too.“
Rating: 3/5 stars