Hotel Iris by Yōko Ogawa
Seventeen-year-old Mari works with her mother in a seaside hotel on the coast of Japan. One night they are forced to eject a prostitute and a middle-aged man from his room and Mari finds herself drawn to the man’s voice. Mari begins to visit the mysterious man at his island home and he initiates her into a dark realm of both pain and pleasure. This disturbing erotic tale by a new-to-me Japanese author sounds just like my cup of tea.
The End of Alice by A. M. Homes
The story centres on the correspondence of two paedophiles. The narrator is a middle-aged child-killer serving his twenty-third year in prison and the other is his admirer, a nineteen-year-old woman intent on seducing a young neighbourhood boy. Slowly, through these letters, the narrator’s monstrous character emerges. I like difficult reads and I keep coming across this book so I thought I’d give it a go.
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
Kitchen juxtaposes two tales about mothers, transsexuality, bereavement, kitchens, love and tragedy in contemporary Japan. This will be my third Yoshimoto book. I highly recommend her novel The Lake if you haven’t read it.
The Night Guest: A Novel by Fiona McFarlane
Ruth is a widow who lives alone in an isolated house on the New South Wales coast. One day a stranger turns up and claims that she’s been sent by the authorities to be Ruth’s carer. At first, Ruth is happy to have the company. Frida is efficient and helpful, and willing to listen to Ruth’s stories about her childhood in Fiji and the man she fell for there. But why does Ruth hear a tiger prowling through the house at night? How far can Ruth trust this enigmatic woman? And how far can she trust herself? This is another book that I keep coming across.
Cat Out of Hell by Lynne Truss
The mesmerising tale of a cat with nine lives, and a relationship as ancient as time itself and just as powerful. The scene: a cottage on the coast on a windy evening. Inside, a room with curtains drawn. Tea has just been made. A kettle still steams. Under a pool of yellow light, two figures face each other across a kitchen table. A man and a cat. The story about to be related is so unusual yet so terrifyingly plausible that it demands to be told in a single sitting. A funny Gothic horror from Hammer Books about a talking supernatural cat, well why not?
Journey Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino
When a man is found murdered in an abandoned building in Osaka in 1973, unflappable detective Sasagaki is assigned to the case. He begins to piece together the connection of two young people who are inextricably linked to the crime; the dark, taciturn son of the victim and the unexpectedly captivating daughter of the main suspect. Over the next twenty years we follow their lives as Sasagaki pursues the unsolved case to the point of obsession. This will be my third Higashino book. His novels are captivating and I love how he doesn’t give you the solution until the very end.
Freudian Slips: All the Psychology You Need to Know by Joel Levy
Freudian Slips presents the essential facts and findings of psychology in an accessible and thoroughly enjoyable way, leaving no Freudian slip or phallic symbol unexamined. From Bobo dolls to invisible gorillas, Clever Hans to Little Albert, the halo effect to the Stockholm syndrome, the book charts a path through the subject’s controversial history and along its most intriguing diversions. This book sounds like an easy way to brush up on my psychology.
A Pleasure and a Calling by Phil Hogan
You won’t remember Mr Heming. He showed you round your comfortable home, suggested a sustainable financial package, negotiated a price with the owner and called you with the good news. The less good news is that, all these years later, he still has the key. He has the keys to all the houses he has ever sold. I have a thing for peeping Tom fiction, both literature and film, so I have high expectations for this book.
Ring by Koji Suzuki
A mysterious videotape warns that the viewer will die in one week unless a certain, unspecified act is performed. Exactly one week after watching the tape, four teenagers die one after another of heart failure. The hard-working journalist Asakawa is intrigued by his niece’s inexplicable death. His attempt to solve the tape’s mystery before it’s too late assumes an increasingly deadly urgency. After having seen the Japanese films more times than is probably healthy, I’m finally going to read the book that started it all.