|Film poster for The Professor and the Beautiful Equation|
This a novel only in the loosest sense: more like a collection of stories that are all highly linked. From stories of murdering landladies to a nostalgic memory of a long-lost stepmother, from a mysterious hotel guest and a car crash with thousands of tomatoes scattered across a road to a murdered surgeon who's carrying on an adulterous affair with a co-worker, the stories are creepy, freaky and very unique.
Reading this collection I am reminded of the odd tales of Horacio Quiroga who was also a master of macabre.
Ogawa is one of Japan's most translated contemporary writers. The other novel I've written about in the past, Hotel Iris, is a book that stays with you. Even years later, I still remember so many specifics about it: the young girl befriending a translator, becoming his sexual slave with disastrous results. All kinds of allusions to Greek tragedy and the middle world between reality and the supernatural.
This collection is one I have really appreciated reading and anyone who likes the macabre, scary or generally creepy, should check it out.