Yoko Ogawa is as Captivating as Ever with ‘Instantanés d’Ambre’


©Ulf Andersen

When Yoko Ogawa arrived in France to promote the recent translation of her novel Instantanés d’Ambre (which has awaiting translation into in English), she came armed with her own suitcase full of green tea. In her every day life, like with her novels, the Japanese author leaves nothing to chance.

This most recent novel hangs somewhere between life and death, somber, yet full of light. It recounts the story of a loud-mouth mother who protects her children by hiding them away in a villa surrounded by high walls. She gives them new names, Agate, Amber and Opal as a means of shielding them from danger. Ogawa sets a scene of tragic claustrophobia in order to recount a tale of resilience. It is within this rich yet subtle world that sounds come to life alongside discreet murmurs and weighty silence. The novelist has proved herself, once again, to be one of the most impressive figures within the Japanese literary scenes.