Saturday, 9 October 2010

The Diving Pool

by Yoko Ogawa

This book contains three early novellas (or short stories, whatever) by Ogawa. All three are told in first person and have some disturbing, eerie quality about them. The Diving Pool is a story of untold love of a high-school girl, Aya, for a high-school boy (also, her childhood friend) Jun. Pregnancy Diary is narrated by a young woman affected by the pregnancy of her sister (always referred in the text as “my sister”). We never meet the baby or learn much about the baby’s father. Finally, Dormitory is a very “Murakamiesque” tale which involves the tracelessly disappeared student and the mysterious Manager of a slowly disintegrating dormitory.

While reading, I couldn’t help imagining how beautifully these stories could be made into anime. Especially the touching scene of The Diving Pool where Aya helps Jun to wash his swimming suits, and the whole of Dormitory.

I doubted that we would ever have a quiet chat about the night we washed out his swimsuits. One after the other, the children at the Light House all went away, leaving me behind. I had no idea how many of them I had watched go, standing alone at the window of my room; and there was no reason to believe that Jun wouldn’t leave like the rest. One day he would go, dressed in his new clothes, accompanied by his new family, disappearing around the corner where the Thought for the Week was posted. And that was why I wanted to remember the happiness we’d had together while we still could.

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