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“The Tale of the House of Physics” Yoko Ogawa

“The Tale of the House of Physics” Yoko Ogawa

Yoko Ogawa is a versatile author whose themes are quite diverse. What makes her writing distinctive is its rhythm, her unique way of depicting objects from scientific perspectives, and its capturing subtlety and complexity of human emotions.

The protagonist is an editor who is on the point of retiring, reflecting on his long career and thinking about the writers and works that he was in charge of. He is a unique editor in that his motto in his profession has been not to “get in the way” of writers.

The very first writer whose story he edited was a woman he met when he was a child. That woman was deemed a social misfit, from whom people in his town tried to keep distance.

She begins to recount her story of an atomic particle in a whispering voice to him. He strives to catch every word she utters. Gradually, he gets enchanted by her story. “Instinctively, I understood that recording her story meant not getting in the way”. The phrase “Don’t worry, it’s all right”, which he repeats in his mind to encourage her, later becomes his mantra.

I really enjoyed reading this story thanks to her beautiful prose and its faultless plot. Ogawa’s homage to the profession of writers exuberates.

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