One day, while running an errand for her mother-in-law, Asa comes across a strange creature, follows it to the embankment of a river, and ends up falling into a hole—a hole that seems to have been made specifically for her.
...surreal and mesmerizing ... Oyamada has great fun playing with the idea of elision, building a propulsive narrative of omission and isolation ... Oyamada mines the horror in the predictability of metamorphosis — the inevitability of who we are, and who we are bound to become.
[A] fantastical story, as translated by David Boyd, in which increasingly bizarre illusions blend into reality, with a reclusive adult at the center. Oyamada unsettles readers, not allowing us to remain comfortable in the reality she creates, which makes for a beguiling read.
[A] complex story dressed in an easy-going style ... Oyamada’s writing is often described as Kafkaesque, and while this can be lazy shorthand for 'strange,' it is an adjective that accurately applies to The Hole ... The Hole is concerned with the plight of women in Japan. In fact, you couldn’t ask for a more concise, moving and subtly angry study of the pressures and expectations placed on women by Japanese society ... It takes a writer of great talent to mold the banality of the everyday into the stuff of art, and to build an entire world around a metaphor other writers might quickly deploy and cast aside, but Oyamada is in complete control of her talent.