Hotel Iris, Yoko Ogawa

There might be spoilers ahead. After the enjoyable experience Revenge has given me, naturally my thought process is to read another book from the same author. With Yoko Ogawa, there are a lot of books to choose from, and I chose Hotel Iris as my next read. My reason being 1) there's another Hotel Iris in one of the books on my reading list and 2) why the hell not? 

Hotel Iris is such a short read, and if it was another book, I might have finished it in one sitting too. But no, it was a challenge to digest. I had to put it down in some parts where I felt uncomfortable, and somehow tried to find an acceptable reason why a 17-year-old naive girl would want to spend time with a 67-year-old experienced man... except for the fact that she was a teenager and when teenagers think they're in love they would go heaven and hell and beyond rationality. At one point it felt like I was watching a Japanese adult video (no babe, stop pretending you haven't seen one), especially during the nephew's arrival, which for some reason, proved to be much harder than the visual version. The words were too vivid and tangible that I could almost smell the carpet, hear the waves of the sea, and feel the somewhat stark and lonely life of the old man a.k.a. the Russian translator. 

I hated the controlling mother and the taunting maid. This, I came to realize, could have been the reason Mari wanted the translator so bad, though subconsciously. The old man's voice was so powerful and forceful to her that she wanted to hear him order her around. She must have learned to expect humiliation and domination from the people that mattered to her. Or maybe, she wanted escape, and being with the translator presented the opportunity. 

The arrival of the nephew lightened the story if only for a little bit (remember when we saw The Battlefield Island and got stressed in all the right places until Song Joong Ki arrived and suddenly there's light and salvation). I wanted him so bad to wake Mari up from the horrible daydream she was in, or whatever trance that was. I imagined him to be Watanabe Keisuke, a tall, handsome young man who's into art and knows how to treat women the way we should be treated. Their little escapade gave me hope and I sincerely believe they totally deserve a happy ending. 

Ogawa's eloquence though, was another story. It was the main reason I stuck with this book through the ending, despite the discomfort and disturbing parts here and there. It was elegantly written and the words were chosen carefully and I think some of the credit should also be given to the translator for breathing another but same version of life into the characters. 

Again, there are many disturbing things in this book that I am reluctant to recommend it, so maybe I'd just say read it at your own risk? Still, I want Mari to find the architect and create her own happy ending with him.