Weasels in the Attic by Hiroko Oyamada

Having read Hiroko Oyamada’s The Hole and The Factory, I was intrigued by the premise of Weasels in the Attic, which has recently been translated into English. This book is divided into three self-contained episodes centred on the same character. Our narrator’s wife really wants to have children but he seems far less enthused by the idea. Two of the episodes revolve around his acquaintances/friends of his, one of whom owns large quantities of this type of exotic fish and has recently gotten together with a younger woman, the other, also married, has settled down into a home that is already occupied by a family of weasels. The male characters are all similar shades of unpleasant and obsessive as they recount their surreal experience with these animals and or their romantic relationships. Our narrator is rather unpleasant himself as he becomes intrigued by someone other than his wife (if i recall correctly…). There is a feverish, oppressive even, atmosphere characterizing most of the interactions and happenings in these stories. Realistic scenarios and dynamics are given a surreal dimension through the addition of bizarre elements or anecdotes. Oyamada seems to have a knack for drawing out the weird from everyday life, but here I found myself bored by the sameness of these three stories. Perhaps it would be more interesting if the perspective had switched from the husband to the wife, or to some other characters as the author did in The Factory which incorporated several povs. Still, even if Weasels in the Attic didn’t quite hit the right spot for me, I remain intrigued by Oyamada’s storytelling and look forward to being ‘weirded’ out again by her future works.

My rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

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