Tag Archives: Hotel Iris

WWW Wednesday, 7-September-2022

7 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I read just a bit of Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner while I was at the doctor’s office. Not great, but progress. I’m afraid I’m getting back to my habit of moving slowly with ebooks, but I’m picking up in other places!
I made good progress in Vessel by Lisa A. Nichols. I’ve been running more and finding productive cleaning/cooking time after the baby goes to sleep that I’ve been able to listen. I think I’ll have this one finished next week!
I got back to The 158-Pound Marriage by John Irving but haven’t been flying in it. It’s a bit similar to Hotel Iris (see below) and I think that they’re running together a bit too much for me to enjoy. I’ll keep moving but I may be slow down a bit.

Recently finished: I wrapped up Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa and got it back to the library. I wasn’t sold on the book. It was a little more explicit than I’d expected and it took me by surprise. I’m not sure how to process it. I gave it Three out of Five Stars and posted my review on Tuesday if you want to read more about my thoughts on it. It was very different from the other Ogawa book I’ve read.

Powering Up Book Cover

Reading next: I still plan on my next audiobook being Like No Other by Una LaMarche. With luck, I’ll start it soon!
I’m feeling I might need a new physical book, too. I have a few unread books on my shelf and the next up would be Powering Up by Anne Doyle. I got this as a free giveaway at a conference for women in business during my MBA program. We’ll see how it goes!

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Book Review: Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa (3/5)

6 Sep

I read my first Ogawa book in 2014 and a year later decided I wanted to read another. I enjoyed the shorter format and the way Ogawa wrote. Little did I know the one I picked would be harder to find than I thought. I ended up doing an Interlibrary Loan to get this title. Luckily, it was shorter and I was able to read it quickly and return it before I had to renew. It only took me seven years to get to it.

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Cover image via Amazon

Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa

Other books by Ogawa reviewed on this blog:

The Housekeeper and the Professor (and Book Club Reflection)

Summary from Amazon:

In a crumbling seaside hotel on the coast of Japan, quiet seventeen-year-old Mari works the front desk as her mother tends to the off-season customers. When one night they are forced to expel a middle-aged man and a prostitute from their room, Mari finds herself drawn to the man’s voice, in what will become the first gesture of a single long seduction. In spite of her provincial surroundings, and her cool but controlling mother, Mari is a sophisticated observer of human desire, and she sees in this man something she has long been looking for.

The man is a proud if threadbare translator living on an island off the coast. A widower, there are whispers around town that he may have murdered his wife. Mari begins to visit him on his island, and he soon initiates her into a dark realm of both pain and pleasure, a place in which she finds herself more at ease even than the translator. As Mari’s mother begins to close in on the affair, Mari’s sense of what is suitable and what is desirable are recklessly engaged.

I don’t think I was ready for how sexual this book would be. That would be a huge trigger warning for readers. I thought the seduction would be gentler for some reason so I was a bit shocked at the ways the two were intimate and also the detail about it. Mari is very much an observer so when her role in the story switches to a very active part, I was taken back at first. I think I was surprised more than anything. I was more interested in her relationship with her mother and the maid than the details of their intimacy and I was a little turned off at the switch.

Mari and the translator are very different from myself and the relationships I’ve been in so it’s hard for me to say how accurate they are. I did understand the relationship Mari had with her mother more. Mari is on the cusp of adulthood and wants to be her own person in some ways, but understands she still lives with her mother and is under her control for a little whiles longer. She is passive to preserve the peace but really wants to strike out on her own. I think most teenagers can relate to that.

The nephew was a fun character. Most of the characters weren’t sympathetic or likeable so he might be my favorite by default. His relationship with the translator changed what Mari thought of her lover and it helped humanize him. I loved the unique descriptions of how he would communicate and how in the end, that was how they got caught. It seemed appropriate that he was an artist and it was really easy to picture him painting on the rocks. I was only sad he never returned.

Besides Mari’s relationship with her mother, it was hard for me to relate to the characters in this book. I think that’s why it didn’t resonate with me very well. The feelings the translator and Mari had for each other were very foreign to me, and I don’t think it was cultural differences. It was just very different from my romantic relationships. Mari felt very closed off emotionally and it was hard to relate to her or get into her head. I think it staunched my enjoyment of her character and the book overall.

YokoOgawa

Yoko Ogawa Image via Numero Cinq Magazine

I enjoyed the scenes with the nephew toward the end. Having another person come between Mari and the translator shone a light on their relationship that changed how I viewed it as a reader and I think how the two of them viewed it as participants. They had to see each other in a different light. Mari saw the translator as part of a family and as loving and caring in a way that was different from how he treated her. He was forced to see her youth, realizing that she was younger than his nephew seemed to change things for him.

The ending was a bit upsetting and rather abrupt. I’m going to spoil it here so please skip to the next paragraph if you want to avoid that. I couldn’t tell if the translator’s anger was real or an act. Did he realize what Mari and his nephew had done together? If so, was he actually angry about it and punishing her or was it all part of their sexual relationship? It seemed really unclear to me and the author didn’t explain it well. His sudden death was both understandable based on their situation and also very unresolved and upsetting as a reader. It felt like Mari betrayed him by not coming to his defense about their relationship. It almost seemed too clean of an ending to explain the damage to her hair and the photos with a clear circle back to a conversation they’d had before about dead bodies. Overall, it was fitting but really rubbed me the wrong way.

The translator is a very interesting character. He’s reclusive and because of that, seen as an outsider and ‘othered’ by his community. That he would chose to live alone, that he works a solitary job make him an easy target for ridicule and judgement. Ultimately, this is hugely to his disadvantage as he’s rumored to be a criminal which hangs over him. Rumors and gossip can ruin lives and we see that plainly with the translator.

Writer’s Takeaway: I appreciate a book that’s concise and short. Ogawa’s ability to get a complete story into a short novel is commendable. She has drawn some wonderful characters in the translator, the maid, Mari’s mother, and the nephew. Though I wished there was more of Mari, I did enjoy her as an observer whose eyes I could see through. Ogawa didn’t spend time with descriptions that weren’t pertinent to the plot and I appreciated that. I liked being able to imagine most things without being told what they looked like.

Overall, not a book I greatly enjoyed but one I still read quickly. Three out of Five Stars

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts:
Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa | areaderofliterature
Reading the World: ‘Hotel Iris’ by Yoko Ogawa **** | theliterarysisters
Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa | JoV’s Book Pyramid
Hotel Iris, by Yoko Ogawa | Novel Insights
Hotel Iris (1996)- Yoko Ogawa | A Novel Approach

WWW Wednesday, 31-August-2022

31 Aug

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I haven’t touched Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner. Work was very difficult this week and I didn’t feel like starting a new habit of picking this up. It will be here for me when I’m ready, right?
I’ve been enjoying Vessel by Lisa A. Nichols. I had to commute one day which got me more listening time than I’m used to! It was a silver lining for me.
I made some OK progress in The 158-Pound Marriage by John Irving before I put it aside (see below). It’s funny when you read enough of an author that you can pick out the things they include most often. Even though this is an early novel by Irving, I still see those patterns.
My ILL for Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa came in! I picked it up right away and I’ve been trying to dedicate more time to it. I’ve done alright and I’m about half way through! I think this will be a quick read. It’s short and the chapters are a good length for me to read in a sitting or before bed. I’ll be optimistic and say this will be finished by next week.

Recently finished: Nothing new. BUT! I published my review of Rebeldes (The Outsiders) by S.E. Hinton on Monday. I love this book and gave it Five out of Five Stars. Please take a look if you have time!

Reading next: I’ll guess that I’ll need an audiobook next. Next up for me would be Like No Other by Una LaMarche. This was a free download through my library from 2020 so it seems as good a time as any to get around to it.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 24-August-2022

24 Aug

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I made some better progress in Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner this week. Nothing incredible, but I kept reminding myself to pick it up so I got through it. I’m enjoying it a bit more now so I’m going to stick with it and see where it gets me.
I started Vessel by Lisa A. Nichols and am enjoying it so far! It has an interesting premise and I can tell there’s a lot of mystery to it which I’m curious to see develop.
I had put in an ILL for my next physical book (see below) but it was too slow to come in so I’ve picked up The 158-Pound Marriage by John Irving. Irving is a perpetual favorite of mine so I’m excited to read one of his earlier works and see what I think of it.

Recently finished: I found a stride in Rebeldes (The Outsiders) by S.E. Hinton and wrapped it up on Friday. The ending grabbed me more than I thought. It’s quite different from the movie, which I’ve seen more recently than I reread it so I was intrigued because it felt like reading a new book for a minute. I’ll work on a review eventually but this one might be a while.
I wrapped up Dollface by Renée Rosen, too! I even found time to write and post a review. I impress myself. Please check it out. I gave the book Three out of Five Stars.

Reading next: I put in an ILL for Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa but it didn’t arrive before I wanted to start it. I’ll pick it up when it does come in, probably putting Irving on hold. It shouldn’t be too much longer, but I can’t figure out how to look up the status.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.