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Lizard Paperback – Mar 1 1996


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Amazon.ca First Novel Award - 6 Canadian Novels Make the Shortlist


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (March 1 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671532766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671532765
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 1 x 12.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 839 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #419,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

A set of postmodern stories from young Japanese novelist Yoshimoto, blending urban anomie with themes of spiritual awakening.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Enormously popular in Japan, Yoshimoto has gained an American audience with her hip novels Kitchen (LJ 12/92) and NP (LJ 1/94). Her first collection of short stories will appeal strongly to "X-ers." Articulate and young but already jaded and wistful urbanites populate these reflective tales of relationships and discovery. Lacking faith, hope, and a substantive cultural context, the protagonists compensate with self-scrutiny and emotional intrigue. Sometimes they stumble upon magic, as in the figure of the enigmatic healer Lizard or a trenchant shape shifter on a commuter train. Unfortunately, between writing and translation, Yoshimoto's concepts consistently outshine her execution; facile descriptions and narratorial overinterpretation weigh down these thoughtful stories. For young adult and fiction collections.
Janet Ingraham, Worthington P.L, Ohio
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
Lizard by Banana Yoshimoto is a mediocre collection of six short stories, each of which discuss the turning point of the main characters' lives. None of the stories was exceptional, since the stories can hardly be recalled even though I have just competed the novel. But if I had to choose the best one, it would be Dreaming Of Kimchee. Lizard can be completed within about 3.5 hours. If you are starting to read Yoshimoto's works, I would suggest reading Kitchen first, as it is her best novel that I have read thus far.

After reading Kitchen, Yoshimoto's other novel, I feel that she has the potential to write a good story, but sadly usually manages to write short stories, most of which feel incomplete. I am glad that Lizard was not about the loss of a loved one. I have read three novels by Yoshimoto, all of which were about loss, and I don't think I could have read another.

May contain spoilers:

Newlywed: A 28-years-old man that has been married for one month is unwilling to leave the train and go home to his wife. He meets an odd fell that makes him think and realize.

Lizard: Is about 29-years-old male counsellor and therapist for emotionally disturbed children. Lizard is what he calls the woman he's been seeing with a lizard tattoo on her thigh has a secret to tell him.

Helix: About a writer and his girlfriend. The writer comes to a realization about people.

Dreaming of Kimchee: A woman is having difficulty coping with her relationship which first started off as an affair with a married man.

Blood and Water: Chikaka, a girl that fled to Tokyo at the age of 18, after getting fed up of living in the village for 12 years.

A Strange Tale from Down by the River: Akemi's hobby was sex, until one day she gave it up. She found love, but her old life is coming back to haunt her.

"It amazed me how utterly different things can look, just with a change of heart." (173)

3/5
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Format: Paperback
If you're in the mood for a classic, Lizard will disappoint. But if you'd like something that won't demand much mental energy but isn't too fluffy, Lizard might just be the ticket. (One of her stories was even serialized in the Tokyo subway system.)
Banana Yoshimoto is certainly a talented writer, and it shows in Lizard. There are many passages that grab you in this collection of short stories. These passages are artfully written: they capture the moment, deceptively simple-sounding yet profoundly resonant. Very easy to read, but not very easy to truly understand. You'll want to savor them over and over.
Yet most of her characters are rather two-dimensional. She brings up a lot of issues about living in today's world, with all of its loneliness and moral ambiguities, yet never fully explores all the issues that she brings up. Each of these short stories could be extended into a novella or a novel, and in my opinion, Yoshimoto should have done so. She often answers complicating issues with cop-out plot twists or well-written but overly brief assessments, instead of more fully examining their implications; thus she compromises the plausibility of her stories.
The genre of magic realism -- which I'd define as works that are basically of the often-gritty realist tradition, but include some elements borrowed from science fiction, fantasy, and mythology -- has much potential, and Yoshimoto has certainly scratched its surface in Lizard.
Yoshimoto has a clean, simple writing style and sensitivity towards things of beauty and truth. If you can overlook plot and character flaws, and appreciate these stories for their beautiful moments, you might like Lizard. Otherwise, look elsewhere.
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Format: Paperback
Having conquered the novella (Kitchen, two novellas published together), and the novel (N.P.), it was only natural for Banana Yoshimoto to move on to the short story form.
Driving succinct prose that hides as much between the lines as it places amazingly in front of us with the surface levels of the stories. Yoshimoto's writing is to Japanese literature as Feng-Shui is to Chinese decorating: simple, spiritual, deep and insightful.
Six separate stories (including "Lizard") all speak about passion, intensity, confusion and desperation. Yoshimoto's characters embody the lost Generation X philosophy. Deep thinkers unable to figure out the world around them: this common thread runs throughout each of these tales that somehow uplift and manage to celebrate life.
Short stories in a small book that doesn't even reach 200 pages, yet with a Hemingway like brilliance, Yoshimoto forced 800 pages worth of depth into these stories. We begin with an apparently simple read that becomes a stark yet hopeful look into the human condition and the lives of people in their twenties, living in this mind blowing world.
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Format: Paperback
This was the second time I have read this book. The first time i thought that it was an enjoyable read, but nothing spectacular. I have read it again and find it nothing spectacular and also quite threadbare. THis does not mean that I did not enjoy reading the book, but it is that I got nothing from it. The stories are told in Ms. Yoshimoto's sparing tone and lanquid pace. They all seem to hover around the common themes of Relationships, death, and a bit of paranormal power. They make the reader wonder what was the point of this? Maybe one has to peel back several layers to find the deep rooted meanings to these stories, but to me they seem to be writen by a bored teenage girl who wants a little bit more excitement in her life. I'm not going to bother to go into detail about each story because they all seem to gel together after awhile. Read this if you are a Yoshimoto fan with some time on your hands, but otherwise read her Book _kitchen_ instead although it shares a similar vein to these stories it is told much better and really tugs on the heart strings.
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