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Review – Hotel Iris March 9, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Foreign.
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Hotel Iris

by Yoko Ogawa

(also available in paperback and NOOK)

Hotel Iris is a small hotel on an resort island in Japan owned by a Mother and a 17-year-old daughter named Mari. Mari strikes up an affair with “the translator”, a middle-aged man. This novella is about their forbidden and sometimes violent love.

Mari’s mother is very controlling and I thought that this affair was also about Mari’s way of rebelling. Mari’s father also died at a very young age, so you can’t help but feel that maybe she has “daddy issues”.

Either way, the tale is a good one. It’s sultry and tantalizing, as well as poignant and sweet.

I liked the way Mari never refers to her lover by name. She constantly refers to him as “the translator”. In this way she’s constantly distancing herself from him, despite the love affair they’re engaged in and the feelings she professes she has for him.

Despite the fact this story was about a love affair, it didn’t completely center on their sex life. In fact it played a somewhat minor role. It’s there but only in context as the basis of their relationship.

The book surprised me in that I enjoyed it a lot more then I thought I would. I’m not a fan of romance of any genre but Ogawa did a masteful job of relaying her message in as tasteful a manner as possible.

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