Frightful Friday is a weekly meme in which I feature a particularly scary or chilling book that I’ve read that week.
This week’s featured title is Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales by Yoko Ogawa:
- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Picador; First Edition edition (January 29, 2013)
- ISBN-10: 0312674465
- Source: Publisher
This title is comprised of eleven chilling, intertwining tales. The correlation between each isn’t obvious at first, relayed by a small detail or speck of information. The point of view of each tale is first person, the identity again not obvious until a specific characteristic is revealed. Additionally, overall names are not used, readers only able to differentiate from the characters by clues and the character’s specific characteristic is revealed. Ranging from a landlady who murders her husband, the surviving parent of a child killed due to suffocation after hiding in an abandoned refrigerator and a young cabaret singer with a unique heart condition, each of the vast range of characters differs vastly.
The title so beautifully wraps up the overall theme of each story: revenge. Each character seeks revenge for a different reason be it envy, jealousy, or spurned love. What makes each of these stories so eloquent is the sharp, crisp writing of Ogawa, a woman rewarded for her exceptional writing skills by receiving every major Japanese writing award.
The stores contained within Revenge are ghastly and dark, very reminiscent of that of Shirley Jackson. What makes each of them so chilling is how each of the dark acts portrayed in the story seems so normal, for most of the acts takes place off the page, the reader only learning about the acts second-hand. This leaves the actual act up to the imagination of the reader. Granted, I am an extensive reader of horror, but only a few of the stories did I find absolutely grotesque, the others much lighter and not nearly as dark as I expected. More importantly, I particularly enjoyed trying to interrelate and connect each oft he characters, creating quite an interesting looking character map.
Bottom line: readers with a weak stomach (or heart) shouldn’t turn away from reading this title based on the synopsis or blurbs on the cover. I dare say this title is enjoyable for it is a bit on the creepy side, but it is definitely attention-gaining and entertaining. Perfect to read on a chilly night…in the dark…curled up under a warm blanket. Highly recommended.