As Oyamada’s slim, beguiling novel unfolds, the eerie atmospherics steadily ascend from unease to maximal uncanny...
The Hole magnifies the plight of some younger adults, particularly women. Work is banal. Childrearing is unappealing. And being a housewife is not, as one of Asa’s older neighbors describes it, “a summer vacation that never ends.” What, the novel asks, is left for a woman to do?
The HoleÂ tells a fantastical story, as translated by David Boyd, in which increasingly bizarre illusions blend into reality, with a reclusive adult at the center. Oyamada unsettles readers, not allowing us to remain comfortable in the reality she creates, which makes for a beguiling read.
It takes a writer of great talent to mold the banality of the everyday into the stuff of art, and to build an entire world around a metaphor other writers might quickly deploy and cast aside, but Oyamada is in complete control of her talent.Â
Oyamada’s atmospheric literary thriller puts a fresh, gripping spin on the bored housewife set-up.
The Hole is Oyamada’s second novel, and the second to be translated into pitch-perfect contemporary English by David Boyd....Brilliant.
Oyamada's slender novel belies a multi-layered, complex examination of contemporary disconnect and isolation so chillingly affecting that the surreal quickly turns convincingly plausible, and then all too insistently real.
Oyamada’s greatest strength lies in keeping readers feeling discomfited... [The] whole narrative shudders not at mysterious creatures or secret family members but at the banality of life.
Surreal and mesmerizing.
The desire to escape the doldrums of late summer, for both the isolated Asa and the (likely lockdown-weary) reader, is telling of the current moment’s general malaise.
Horrific and scary, while at the same time affirming and beautiful.