Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa

irisHotel 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.

Quotable Quotes:

“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

 

WWW Wednesday (09-Oct-2019)

Hi there! Welcome to WWW Wednesday, hosted by Sam from Taking On A World of Words. Just answer the three W questions:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

You can leave a link of your post in the comments section so I and other readers can check it out.

Let’s get started…

Recently Finished:

Hotel Iris started out quite well and interesting for me but turned out to be a bit weak. But I’m still inclined to read more of Yoko Ogawa’s works.

The Unexpected Guest was a quick and exciting read though I guessed who the culprit was quite easily. Probably because I’ve read too much of Agatha Christie’s Ms. Marple stories. It’s a perfect light read on a very hectic work week.

Currently Reading:

dinner-at-the-homesick-restaurant1

 

This is my first Anne Tyler read. I’m enjoying the book so far, the characters and her observations on everyday life. The pace is a little bit slow for my taste but I’m surprisingly okay with it.

Up Next:

dance with dragons

 

 

I didn’t browse my TBR shelf this week because I should really get started with this. It’s been long overdue. 🙂

 

There it is! How about you? Have you read any of these books? What have you read, reading or will read this time? I’d love to know!

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

yoko ogawa

Good things come in small packages and The Housekeeper and the Professor is a perfect example. A wonderful short novel with a great deal of depth. It is a beautiful and touching story about a brilliant Mathematics professor, an unnamed housekeeper (the  narrator) and her son whom the professor called Root for having a flat head like the square root sign.

Yoko Ogawa’s writing style is refreshing. She carefully choose the words to explain several mathematical concepts in an easy story-telling format but to a great effect. It will make anyone enjoy reading even if Math isn’t your thing. And while Math plays a large part in the story, baseball did, too. Root and the professor shared a passion for baseball for different reasons.

Much is unsaid in this little gem of a story, leaving the readers to ponder after reading and personally in a beautifully satisfying way. The relationship between the professor, the housekeeper and Root is so realistic and touching.

With wonderful writing and themes on finding mathematical and personal connections between unlikely people, don’t let the Maths put you off reading this book.

Quotable Quotes:

“A problem isn’t finished just because you’ve found the right answer.”

“The Professor never really seemed to care whether we figured out the right answer to a problem. He preferred our wild, desperate guesses to silence, and he was even more delighted when those guesses led to new problems that took us beyond the original one. He had a special feeling for what he called the “correct miscalculation,” for he believed that mistakes were often as revealing as the right answers.”

“The truly correct proof is one that strikes a harmonious balance between strength and flexibility. There are plenty of proofs that are technically correct but are messy and inelegant or counterintuitive. But it’s not something you can put into words — explaining why a formula is beautiful is like trying to explain why the stars are beautiful.”

“Solving a problem for which you know there’s an answer is like climbing a mountain with a guide, along a trail someone else has laid. In mathematics, the truth is somewhere out there in a place no one knows, beyond all the beaten paths. And it’s not always at the top of the mountain. It might be in a crack on the smoothest cliff or somewhere deep in the valley.”

“The room was filled with a kind of stillness. Not simply an absence of noise, but an accumulation of layers of silence.”

Rating: 5/5 stars