Title: The Diving Pool
Japanese Title: ダイヴィング・プール
Author: Yoko Ogawa (小川洋子; Ogawa Yōko)
Translator: Stephen Snyder
Publication Year: 2008 (America); 1991 (Japan)
This is the first collection of Ogawa’s fiction to be translated into English, and veteran translator Stephen Snyder (Murakami Ryū’s Coin Locker Babies, Kirino Natsuo’s Out) does Ogawa’s sparse and poetic style justice with his smooth and intelligent translation. This volume includes three short stories: “The Diving Pool,” “Pregnancy Diary,” and “Dormitory.” Although each of these stories is firmly grounded in reality, I don’t think it would be too far-fetched to call them ghost stories. These eerie stories, although aesthetically beautiful and highly reminiscent of their setting in modern, urban Japan, derive their main appeal from an insightful portrayal of the small cruelties that people inflict on each other. The fact that all of Ogawa’s characters are eminently sympathetic, combined with the lovely details of their daily lives, gives the subtle yet bizarre twist at the end of each story all the more impact.
I really cannot recommend this book enough, not just to people interested in Japanese literature, but to anyone who loves to read. It gives me great pleasure to start off this blog with this wonderful book!