The Driving Pool is a compilation of three stories written by Yoko Ogawa, an award winning novelist from Japan. The Driving Pool revolves around the experiences of Aya, a young female narrator (James 1).
Aya is orphaned in a number of ways. For example, her parents are too busy in the wards and cannot create time to attend to her needs. It is against this background that Aya (who is emotionally abandoned by her parents) decide to shower Jun (a young athlete) with all her devotion and love. Jun has lived at the Light House for a decade now.
Nonetheless, acquaintance does not rekindle disdain for Aya. Her feelings for Aya are not sisterly. Aya’s obsession with Jun is manifested when she spent most of her free time in the bleachers looking at Jun practice his favorite sport. When Aya is not in the bleachers, she idles around the home eager to bump into Jun. It appears that Jun feels the same way towards Aya (James 2).
This tale could have had a merry ending if Aya had not subjected her loneliness and pain upon others. The seductive force of cruelty is manifested when Aya resorts to torture Rie (the youngest toddler at the orphanage) for pleasure. In spite of the fact that Aya’s actions are distressing, most of the readers are sympathetic with her deeds because they understand their origins.
It seems the author has excelled in demonstrating how natural feelings can be overturned into anomalous ones and how benevolence can coexist with malevolence (James 3). It goes without saying that The Diving Pool examines the intensity of our intricate dark natures. Nevertheless, The Diving Pool does not sanitize anything in the process. It is a simple moral story that seems to suggest the impeding devastating revenge for the young woman (James 3).
Majusi is the author of the internationally acclaimed book titled Black Rain. It astonishes that whenever a book dwells upon serious issues such as genocide, lynching, or Hiroshima bombing; it will frequently receive a rare evaluation irrespective of the manner in which subject at hand is presented. Black Rain focuses on a teenage girl who is caught in the middle of the radioactive “Black Rain” that ensued after Hiroshima was bombed.
The writer based his novel on accounts of real-life records and dialogue with the victims of the holocaust. In his book, he manages to disclose the extent of suffering of human as a result of the atomic bomb (Schneider 1). In the novel Black Rain, the author narrates the manner in which the life of Yasuko that was altered forever as a result of the Hiroshima bombing.
The author describes how the attack caused him periodic bouts of radiation sickness and her suspicions that her future generations may be affected too. Ibuse presents the horrific incident with a tinge of moderate humor which he is commonly known for. His compassion to the multifaceted web of feeling in a customary community dilapidated by the devastating attack has made the Black Rain one of the most highly recognize novel (Schneider 3).
The novel talks about the survivors who witnessed the Hiroshima bomb as it unfolded. Nonetheless, the writer neither asks for sympathy from the readers nor blames anyone for the event. On the contrary, but he focuses his attention on the catastrophe itself from the human point of view. The author and those around him maintain a deep sense of self-respect and significance for human life and experience which stands out in the entire days after the Hiroshima bombing.
In his account, he talks about the suffering many victims had to endure during and after the bombing and his description leave the reader less than pleasant. In the Black Rain novel, the author does not hold the back the information about the bombing nor try to overwhelm the readers with cheap words to narrate the devastating outcomes of the attack. He simply employs an exceptional narrative style that describes the suffering of the victims (Schneider 4).
Pregnancy Diary is the second story in this collection. To most readers, Pregnancy Diary appears to be more complicated and even bleaker. Just like the other two stories, Pregnancy Diary talks about a displaced young female narrator. The diary in question is a vivid account of a woman concerning her sister’s pregnancy. Pregnancy Diary bears semblance to the other two tales because it is filled with horrific tales.
It is worthy to mention that Pregnancy Diary does not dwell upon the foetus but on revulsion, food and greed as the narrator prepares an intoxicated grapefruit jam for her sister. Pregnancy Diary reveals the emotional turmoil that the children had to endure following the tragic and untimely death of their parents. According to this tale, it is very difficult to establish whose delusions are prevailing in this world of emotional haziness (James 4).
All women featured in Ogawa’s tales are basically numbed and emotionless as they attempt to gain power by subjecting their weaker specimens to cruel deeds. Their disturbing inertia in reaction to their limited roles is counterpoised with vicious twists and turns which the author portrays with a distinctive coolness of tone. The sense of emotional estrangement, of cultural universality as well as the use of weird disappearance cuts across the three tales (Briscoe 7).
Dormitory is the last tale in this collection. Dormitory rarely qualifies as a bedtime story because it is filled with dark twists and turns in spite of the fact that there is some ray of hope as the horrific tale comes to an end. Nonetheless, Dormitory leaves many questions unanswered (James 5).
For example, why is the young wife not attempting to search and save her cousin? What is behind the bizarre inertia contaminating her right from the start? What would she have found behind her cousin’s bolted door? And what exactly is happening to the landlord? In Dormitory, a woman in Tokyo is busy sewing a patchwork coverlet as she waits to join her husband in Sweden.
Meanwhile, her young cousin calls to inquire if she can reside in the college dormitory where she once lived as a student. In the meantime, the manager of the hall of residence is a terminally ill amputee infatuated with body parts of healthier students.
As the cousin takes residence at the college dormitory and disappears later, the narrator is drawn into a distorted world full of garish tulip colors and sickly buzzing of bees that threatens to overwhelm the ordinary daily life as a background to insanity. It seems that the author has met all the preconditions that qualify a story to be regarded as horrific (Briscoe 8).
Ogawa has successfully depicted the workings of human psychology in her three tales. The author has been able to demonstrate her in-depth knowledge of psychological workings through her wonderful and well-executed pose. Reading Ogawa’s tales is synonymous to entering an illusory state that is filled with frightening scenes (Briscoe 9). The narrators of both Pregnancy Diary and The Diving Pool commit dreadful acts (poisoning an expectant woman and tormenting a young orphaned toddler).
They commit these horrendous acts as if by impulse and do not care of the possible consequences of their actions. It is worthy to mention that the three tales bear similarities in terms of structure and arrogance. Nevertheless, The Diving Pool is an exceptional tale that depicts an author whose evocative, disconcerting narrative style speaks more by leaving some details unarticulated (Briscoe 9).
Briscoe, Joanna. “Dark Side of the Dormitory.” 2 Aug. 2008. Web. <https://www.theguardian.com/books/2008/aug/02/fiction5>.
James, Victoria. “The Diving Pool, by Yoko Ogawa: Everyday Horror in Suburban Tokyo.” 8 Aug. 2008. Web. <https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/the-diving-pool-by-yoko-ogawa-trans-stephen-snyder-887841.html>.
Schneider, Jessica. “Book Review: Black Rain by Masuji Ibuse.” 16 Jan. 2011. Web.