In a crumbling, sea-side hotel on the coast of Japan, quiet, seventeen-year-old Mari works the front desk as her mother fusses over the off-season customers. When one night, they are forced to eject a middle-aged man and a prostitute from their room, Mari finds herself drawn to the man s voice, in what will become the first gesture of a long seduction. The mysterious man lives quietly as a translator on an island off the coast. A widower, there are murmurs around town that he may have murdered his wife. Mari begins to visit him, but as he initiates her into a dark realm of both pain and pleasure, she finds herself also attracted to his earnest young nephew. As Mari s mother and the police begin to close in on the illicit affair, events move to a dramatic climax.
Since 1988, Yoko Ogawa has written more than twenty works of fiction and non-fiction, and has won every major Japanese literary award. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, A Public Space, and Zoetrope. Harvill Secker published The Diving Pool, a collection of three novellas, in 2007 and her novel The Housekeeper and the Professor in 2009.