Daily Archives: June 17, 2010

Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa

Having loved The Housekeeper and the Professor for its delicate touch on an unlikely friendship I was ready to savor Hotel Iris. Instead, I was horrified.

I don’t get horrified easily. But the “friendship” this time is between an aging writer (so far so good) and a teenager (why not) that quickly turns into a vicious sadomasochistic relationship (yikes!), with the female teenager as the brutally abused partner. No amount of atmospheric descriptions of the lovely Japanese seaside resort or sugary love letters the writer sends her could overcome my puzzlement as why she would ever seek out that man, or my disgust at the abuse she is made to endure.

And there’s a dumb mother in the book, too, who seems completely blind to the relationship while oppressing the daughter into quasi slave labor. Another reason for me to hate the book.


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