Revenge Eleven Dark Tales

Yoko Ogawa; Translated by Stephen Snyder




Trade Paperback

176 Pages



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Sinister forces collide and unite a host of desperate characters in this eerie cycle of interwoven tales from Yoko Ogawa, the critically acclaimed author of The Housekeeper and the Professor. An aspiring writer moves into a new apartment and discovers that her landlady has murdered her husband. Elsewhere, an accomplished surgeon is approached by a cabaret singer, whose beautiful appearance belies the grotesque condition of her heart. And while the surgeon’s jealous lover vows to kill him, a violent envy also stirs in the soul of a lonely craftsman. Desire meets with impulse and erupts, attracting the attention of the surgeon’s neighbor—who is drawn to a decaying residence that is now home to instruments of human torture. Murderers and mourners, mothers and children, lovers and innocent bystanders—their fates converge in an ominous and darkly beautiful web. Yoko Ogawa’s Revenge is a master class in the macabre that will haunt readers. 


Praise for Revenge

“If creepy were a place, Ms. Ogawa has come up with many ways to get there . . . Even while punctuated [by] macabre flourishes her book maintains its restraint, like a dark alley that’s too quiet, or an insane person acting too calm.”—Susannah Meadows, The New York Times 

“Fittingly, each tale seems to be its own torture chamber—dark and meticulous . . . More disturbing than the bloody imagery is the eerie calm with which each plot unfolds, as if one act of violence must necessarily transform into the portal for another.”The New Yorker   

“It's not just Murakami but also the shadow of Borges that hovers over this mesmerizing book . . . [and] one may detect a slight bow to the American macabre of E.A. Poe. Ogawa stands on the shoulders of giants, as another saying goes. But this collection may linger in your mind—it does in mine —as a delicious, perplexing, absorbing and somehow singular experience.”—Alan Cheuse, NPR

“A secret garden of dark, glorious flowers: silky, heartbreakingly beautiful . . . and poison to their roots.”—Joe Hill, author of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns

“Yoko Ogawa is an absolute master of the Gothic at its most beautiful and dangerous, and Revenge is a collection that deepens and darkens with every story you read.”—Peter Straub              

“It's not just Murakami but also the shadow of Borges that hovers over this mesmerizing book… [and] one may detect a slight bow to the American macabre of E.A. Poe. Ogawa stands on the shoulders of giants, as another saying goes. But this collection may linger in your mind — it does in mine — as a delicious, perplexing, absorbing and somehow singular experience.”—Alan Cheuse, NPR  

“Magnificently macabre . . . Ogawa is the Japanese master of dread . . . These tales are not for the faint of heart, but Ms. Ogawa is more “Masque of the Red Death” than she is The Ring. She elevates herself above any limitations of the genre she’s working in.”—The New York Observer

“Equally seductive and unsettling, these tales overwhelm the reader with sinister dreamscapes, each exquisitely rendered in cool, precise prose that has been rightfully compared to that of fellow Japanese author Haruki Murakami . . . her tales will long linger in the mind.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“[Revenge] Erupts into the ordinary world as if from the unconscious or the grave . . . A haunting introduction to her work . . . the overall effect is [that of] David Lynch: the rot that lurks beneath the surface.”—The Economist

“Every act of malice glows creepily against the plain background. It’s a book that ought to be distributed to every fiction-M.F.A. candidate who tends to overwrite: Ogawa is an expert in doing more with less.”—New York Magazine

“Reading Yoko Ogawa is akin to watching a film by David Lynch; the experience is an admixture of vertiginous revelation and dark defamiliarization . . . her stories seem to exist in a timeless, fluid medium all its own.”—The Huffington Post

“Eleven creeptastic stories, complete with Murakami-esque weirdness.”—io9

“Japan’s best teller of macabre tales . . . Ogawa is such a master that she pushes the boundaries and suspends the mystery . . . You never know ‘why,’ only that humans are slaves to time, and we keep on with our lives so that someday we might understand.”—The Daily Beast

“A storehouse of creepy and vicious behavior . . . [Ogawa’s] touches of horror sometimes put me in mind of the grown-up stories of Roald Dahl.”—Jim Higgins, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Woven through the 11 interconnected tales is a thread of the grotesque, the macabre, the mournful . . . Ogawa’s language is both spare and searingly precise, crystallizing the details of everyday existence and capturing the unexpected shock of the bizarre . . . Readers willing to explore the murkier edges of the human psyche will not be disappointed.”—Associated Press

“Disturbing… the delicate, slow-burning eeriness [lingers] long after the book is put down.”—Time Out (New York)

“[These are] haunted characters who could have walked, quite coolly, out of a Joyce Carol Oates or Koji Suzuki creation . . . Not recommended for bedtime reading.”—The Boston Phoenix

“Ogawa is original, elegant, very disturbing.”—Hilary Mantel, Booker Prize--winning author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies

“Ogawa’s fiction reflects like a fun-house mirror, skewing conventional response . . . [Like] Haruki Murakami, Ogawa writes stories that float free of any specific culture, anchoring themselves instead in the landscape of the mind.”—The Washington Post Book World

“Using spare strokes and macabre detail, Ogawa creates an intense vision of limited lives and the twisted ingenuity of people trapped within them.”—Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air

“A conspicuously gifted writer . . . To read Ogawa is to enter a dreamlike state tinged with a nightmare, and her stories continue to haunt. She possesses an effortless, glassy, eerie brilliance.”—The Guardian (London)

“Spine-tingling . . . These are shiningly sinister stories that grab you by the vulnerable back of the neck and don’t let go.”—Elle

“Ogawa paints each tale exquisitely . . . With dark calm and disquieting imagery, she leads readers on a journey of the macabre in a progression of tales that resound long after the last page is turned . . . Ogawa’s writing is simple and effective, and her technique for merging the tales demonstrates her mastery of the written word.”—Kirkus Reviews

In the Press

REVENGE by Yoko Ogawa | Kirkus
Ogawa (<em>Hotel<em> <em>Iris<em>, 2010, etc.) crafts 11 interlocking short stories with eloquent prose that belies the nature of the tales she spins.
Winter Escapes: Three Short Story Collections to Sweep You Away - The Daily Beast
This winter has been flush with excellent books of short stories. Jane Ciabattari recommends three collections you shouldn't miss.
Review - 'Revenge' finds heart of darkness in interlocking stories
Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? "Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales" is a storehouse of creepy and vicious behavior from otherwise normal-seeming people.
This Week's Hot Reads: Jan. 14, 2013 - The Daily Beast
From Ali Smith mixing a ghost story with a meditation on writing to Bill Streever seeking out lava, burning coals, and other hot stuff.
A Buyers' Guide to Just-Published Books -- Vulture
Are Drinking With Men, Good Kids, or The Twelve Tribes of Hattie worth getting?
'The Miniature Wife,' by Manuel Gonzales, and More -
New books by Manuel Gonzales, Lisa O'Donnell, John Kenney, Benjamin Nugent, Yoko Ogawa and John Brockman.
New Japanese fiction: Slightly off | The Economist
Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales. By Yoko Ogawa. Picador; 162 pages; $14. Harvill Secker; £10.99. Buy from, AN ELDERLY man who curates a museum of...
Book Review: 'Revenge' By Yoko Ogawa : NPR
Fiction is reality and reality fiction in Revenge, Yoko Ogawa's absorbing cycle of interlinked, eerie tales. Readers may detect the shadows of Murakami, Borges and Poe, but, says critic Alan Cheuse, Ogawa's delicious tales cast their own singular spell.

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

It was a beautiful Sunday. The sky was a cloudless dome of sunlight. Out on the square, leaves fluttered in a gentle breeze along the pavement. Everything seemed to glimmer with a faint luminescence: the roof of the ice-cream stand, the faucet on the drinking fountain, the eyes of a stray cat, even the base of the clock tower covered with pigeon droppings.
Families and tourists strolled through the square, enjoying the weekend. Squeaky sounds could be heard from a man off in the corner, who was twisting balloon animals. A circle of children watched
Read the full excerpt



  • REVENGE by Yoko Ogawa

    The book trailer for REVENGE by Yoko Ogawa. Trailer designed by Ervin Serrano and Henry Sene Yee.



  • Yoko Ogawa; Translated by Stephen Snyder

  • Yoko Ogawa's fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, A Public Space, and Harper’s Magazine. Since 1988, she has produced more than twenty works of fiction and nonfiction, which have been published in several countries. Her novel Hotel Iris was shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2010.

    Stephen Snyder  teaches Japanese literature at Middlebury College. His translations include works by Kzaburō Ōe, Ryu Murakami, Natsuo Kirino, and Miri Yu.

  • Yoko Ogawa
    Yoko Ogawa