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The Diving Pool by Yoko Ogawa

This book is a collection of three novellas published over 20 years ago – The Diving Pool, Pregnancy Diary and Dormitory. They are all taken from the viewpoint of the silent female observer – a visceral undercurrent pervades. Aya has an inappropriate obsession with her foster brother Jun. Her strange relationship began when Jun was a baby. “I felt myself suddenly overcome by a strange and horrible sensation,” she says of her first experience of nursing him. She also becomes increasingly cruel to her foster sister, Rie and relishes tormenting her. Themes that thread throughout all three novellas include forbidden sexual desire and incest. This yearning creates a sense of disconnection and powerlessness. The women of all three stories are left to be outsiders in their own lives. They are preoccupied with routine to create stability and lack understanding or compassion for the people in their lives. Like all good horror, these novellas expertly hold a microscope to the inherent cruel aspects of human nature that exist in us all.

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