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Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales by Yoko Ogawa

Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales

by Yoko Ogawa

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4642533,554 (3.89)66
  1. 00
    Toddler-Hunting and Other Stories by Taeko Kōno (coltonium)
  2. 00
    Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl (DerBuecherwurm)
    DerBuecherwurm: Although more well-known for his children's stories, Roald Dahl's short stories have quite a similar timbre to them as evoked in "Revenge". Perhaps it's time to rediscover these excellent and deliciously creepy stories.

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» See also 66 mentions

English (24)  Italian (1)  All languages (25)
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Revenge is a story that is divided into eleven parts. Each part on its own is creepy and satisfying in itself, but they are all connected; either by characters crossing paths or working/living in the same space. The readers have to read them all to see the bigger picture, and sometimes find out what really happened to the characters in previous stories.

The first couple of stories almost turned me off. There wasn’t much depth to them on their own, but once I got the hang of how the book worked and understood those smaller stories were only bits and pieces of the larger story, the book grew on me. You find all different types of characters: cheating lovers, scorned workers, con-artists, and distant relatives; all plotting some type of revenge on those that had wronged them.

The book can be slow at times. You have to read through a story that seems pointless at first, but fits in perfectly when you read all the stories together. Some of the characters are a little bland, but others pop out and you want to know more of their story.

Overall, I had mixed feelings about Revenge. The way the stories slotted into place to make the big picture was creative and intriguing, but it was also a bit boring because they’re so disjointed on their own. It’s still a good read, but in order to give it a chance, you have to read the first 3-4 stories to start seeing how it works. ( )
  ReadingBifrost | Apr 17, 2019 |
Dark, macabre - all the more so with the coldness of a matter-of-fact narration and lack of character names, so the whole impact is subtle. Intertwined tales of death and relationships. Pay attention - little things in one story will be picked up on later. Clever and wonderful at the same time. ( )
  Alan.M | Apr 16, 2019 |
First of all, whoever wrote the blurb on the book jacket has clearly not read the book. And the title was terribly chosen. Just an FYI.

Now to what's really important. Maybe this is due to the translation, but Yoko Ogawa is like an artist who wants to paint with as few brushstrokes as possible. The spookiness is achieved by inserting a bizarre element into everyday happenings. This works to great effect in stories like "Old Mrs. J," where a writer's strange landlady finds carrots shaped like human hands growing in her garden. There are perfect sentences like the grotesquely funny "That evening, my potato salad had bits of the pinkie and the index finger."

On the other hand, Ogawa is so minimalist that despite each story having a different narrator, she does not change the style or tone. This makes it so you cannot always tell who is speaking, and I mean basic info, like male or female, unless something like a boyfriend is mentioned. Perhaps this was intentional, but I'm not sure.

This was a creepy story collection, though. From "Lab Coats" to "The Museum of Torture" I had an especially big case of THE SHIVERS. While it's not out-and-out horror, I wouldn't like to read it in an empty house at night. ( )
  doryfish | Mar 6, 2019 |
I decided to pick up this book based on the fact that the author had also written The Housekeeper and the Professor, a novel that I really enjoyed - and I am so glad that I did.

Revenge is a collection of eleven eloquent, charmingly dark short stories, all of which are intertwined in different ways. The book impressed me more and more as I continued, and Ogawa’s intricate writing was a treat to read.
The writing style is delicate, even cozy - and combined with the more macabre elements of the stories, it’s perfection.

Each of the eleven stories is somehow tied to another, usually the one directly preceding it, in some small and often unexpected way.
A character happens to glimpse a girl crying over a phone conversation, and in another story we learn the reason that she was in tears. A character finds piles of fruit in an unexpected place, and in the next story, we learn how it got there. These details are not so much defining plot points, but rather puzzle pieces that tie the storylines together in a very satisfying way.
Most of the book seems to take place in the same town. Toward the end of the book, a character briefly mentions the town square in passing, and I found myself thinking “Oh, yes - I know that place. I know the bakery there, I know about the customers, I know about the girl who works in it.”
It was a pleasant feeling, of having glimpsed into pieces of so many people’s lives - of hearing characters remark upon something that you know more about than they do.

Because of the way that these stories seem to so seamlessly fit together, it would be easy to overlook the broad scope of writing abilities that Ogawa demonstrates here.

She slips effortlessly between cozy and warm to chilling and creepy, but never abandons the overall tone of her writing: pretty, observant, concise.
Some of the stories are sentimentally evocative: a man fondly remembers bonding with his stepmother as a young boy, a mother continues to celebrate her son’s birthday despite his death years ago.

And then, there are the tales that are more dark - a woman stumbles upon the Museum of Torture, housed in a forgotten old building on the outskirts of town. A man is commissioned to make a bag to hold a woman’s heart, which is exposed outside of her body due to a medical condition - and he becomes strangely obsessed with it, and with the temptation of being able to kill her so easily.

A couple of the stories even capture an ominous sensuality: a girl who works in a hospital is fascinated with one of her female co-workers, imagining sex scenes with her that involve medical procedures, the man crafting a bag for the woman’s exposed heart imagines making love to her so passionately that her heart bursts.
The way that Ogawa writes this, stylishly, isn’t lurid at all, but rather seems to flit up to the edge of taboo and elegantly skirt over the boundary before tastefully moving on.

In short, this book impressed me, and I will definitely be hunting down more of the author’s writing. ( )
1 vote joririchardson | Jun 21, 2017 |
Beautifully interconnected and, in some instances, deliciously disturbing. I would certainly recommend this book to lovers of gentle horror and magical realism. ( )
  SnowcatCradle | Mar 6, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Ogawa makes each of the stories seem like odd, if convincing, standalone works of short fiction and at the same time like metafictional products created by the characters in several of the stories. Are you reading about a trip to the zoo in a novel by one of the characters, or a trip to the zoo in a story by Ogawa? By the time you begin to recognize this paradox as the guiding principle of the stories, you're in too far to stop.
added by ozzer | editNPR, Alan Cheuse (Feb 18, 2013)

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ogawa, YokoAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Snyder, StephenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


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Offers eleven interwoven macabre short stories that take an ominous look at grotesque characters, violent emotions, and murder.

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Average: (3.89)
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Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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