If you enjoyed the eerie atmosphere of The Factory – the mixture of dull everyday existance and mystery hanging in the air – be sure to check out The Hole. Hiroko Oyamada received the prestigious Akutagawa Prize for this novella in 2013. It is a perfect follow up to The Factory.
The Hole begins with Asa moving out with her husband to the countryside, near to where his parents live. They have seemingly perfect living environments over there: a grand, comfortable house surrounded by nature, a small local community and in-laws nearby. Asa however feels like she’s been transported to a whole new world altogether, and it’s not exactly the most pleasant feeling. One day, she notices an unusual creature and when she follows it, she accidentally lands in a hole in the ground. Nothing spectacular happens – she is not Alice, who followed the rabbit straight to Wonderland. Still, when she climbs back from her hole, it strikes her how “strange” the world actually is.
In her novella, Hiroko Oyamada takes a close look at how these small, close-knit communities work; how difficult it is for “newcomers” to enter into their world of long accustomed habits and family secrets. The longer we examine these seemingly normal daily scenes and routines, all the stranger they become in our eyes.