Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto actually consists of two stories: Kitchen and Moonlight Shadow. Kitchen is just barely over a hundred pages long, and Moonlight Shadow is forty-four pages. Like her other novel, Hardboiled and Hard Luck, Kitchen is also about loss and moving on. Kitchen is well written and makes a great short read. Both of the stories are written in first person, so I was able to experience the emotions that the characters felt: their loneliness, their despair. I was hoping for more of an ending from Kitchen, but I sort of knew what would happen.
**MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS**
Kitchen is about Mikage Sakurai, whose parents are dead, and she was taken in by her grandparents. Her grandfather passed away, and then her grandmother. Now, Mikage is all alone, with no living relatives, with only the kitchen to console her. The sound of the refrigerator makes her forget her troubles, and allows her to sleep peacefully. While grieving, she meets Yuichi Tanabe, a man that goes to the same university as her, who used to know her grandmother, who helped her at the funeral. Mikage is taken in by Yuichi and his "mother," Eriko. They form a family, but suffer more loss.
Moonlight Shadow is about Satsuki, who has just suffered the loss of her boyfriend of four years, Hitoshi. She cannot sleep properly, and she started going jogging every morning. Satsuki meets an odd stranger, Urara, and then there is Hitoshi's eccentric younger brother, Hiiragi, who will help her deal with her loss in a surprising way.
Kitchen teaches you that no matter what happens, you have to continue living, because loss is a part of life.
Some passages I liked:
"Although I was raised with love, I was always lonely." (21)
"The night was so deathly silent that I felt I could hear the sound of stars moving across the heavens." (31)
"...[T]his moment, too, might become a dream." (41)