February 24, 2008

Dark Water (1996 story)

Written by Koji Suzuki.

To bookend the seven tales of his collection, Suzuki gives us an interesting character study of an elderly woman named Kayo, who takes daily walks along the beach, dreaming up stories to go with debris drifting along the shore. In the opening piece, her granddaughter tags along during a visit. Kayo promises she'll give the girl a treasure if she'll walk with her all seven days and listen to seven stories. Cute, but a bit unnecessary.

The closing piece is much better as we dig into Kayo's past and learn of a debilitating operation which gives further strength and meaning to her daily walks. We also learn an amusing anecdote which ties into the final story, Forest Under the Sea. It's quite nicely done.

I must say, thinking back on when I first read this book a couple years ago, I didn't remember this story and thought it should be eliminated in order to bookend the collection with the two-part Forest Under the Sea. This reread has given me new appreciation for the tale. Sure, the opening half is a bit of a forced way to set up the anthology, but the closing piece is so strong with such solid characterization, that I'm glad to have it here.

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