Lizard Paperback – Mar 1 1996
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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)
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Personally, the book is not as gripping as I would like to be.
But if you're looking only for light reading, then this book is good. Read more
I enjoyed reading the stories in this book. The last story was perhaps the best one in the book; it made you think about other people's perspectives of their life and life in... Read morePublished on July 25 2001 by Karina Karina
I became a Banana fan upon reading the first chapter of her novel NP. I bought "Lizard" immediately after I finished NP, resisting the temptation to set high hopes that... Read morePublished on March 21 2001 by K. Brown
Perhaps you're the type that doesn't have a lot of time. These stories are for you. They take the brilliance of Kitchen and N.P. Read morePublished on Feb. 13 2001 by imadokidude
Someone said this story of Banana was poetic. Wait a munite. Noone makes that type of comments in Japan. Read morePublished on May 9 2000
I am very pleased with Banana's work so far. Her ability to write beautiful and touching stories is admirable. Read morePublished on April 18 2000 by CoffeeGurl
this is a very intelligent and interesting book. i liked how these stories really captured my attention and i feel it is a book worth reading for anyone who likes modern short... Read morePublished on March 29 2000 by R. Daneel Olivaw
"Lizard" is the third release by Banana Yoshimoto. It is a collection of short stories. My first impression was that these are very bizarre stories. Read morePublished on March 27 2000