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Lizard [Paperback]

Banana Yoshimoto
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
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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.

From Booklist

Yoshimoto, young and Japanese, has delighted millions of readers all over the world, first with Kitchen (1993), then with N.P.. What is her appeal? It could be her direct and confiding voice, the telegraphic intensity of her terse stories, the way she tackles emotional complexities with a reassuring clarity, or, perhaps, her starkness and stoicism. In Yoshimoto's literary universe, even the most wrenching or mysterious events are accepted with a certain amount of resignation: life hurts. But here, in this set of precise yet lyrical love stories, Yoshimoto has extended her reach and entered a mystical dimension. Each of her heroines must face the inescapable consequences of the past--a troubling psychological legacy or the fallout from a tragedy--but fate also grants "moments of comprehension," redemptive awakenings, and lasting transformations. Yoshimoto's frequently surreal, elegantly geometric yet richly hued, and gently spiritual stories celebrate the wonder of love at first sight, the rightness of certain relationships, and the gift of hope. Donna Seaman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Six short stories from Japan's popular literary star (N.P., 1994, etc.) offer pallid bromides, blending postmodern cool with superficial explorations of ``time, healing, karma, and fate.'' Products of an affluent society that has embraced the West but not forgotten its fundamental traditions, the characters are uncertain of the future, skeptical of materialism, yearning to end the anomie and existential pain they feel. In ``Lizard,'' the title and most notable story, a doctor who works with emotionally disturbed children loves a young woman in whose reptile eyes ``I see my own lonely face, peering down, looking for something to love and cherish.'' Haunted by a brutal attack she witnessed as a child, Lizard has become an acupuncture practitioner dedicated to healing those in pain, but she cannot forget her past; only a confession of a similar painful memory from her lover offers them both solace. The protagonist of ``Blood and Water'' leaves the religious commune she was raised in, but finds that, troubled by ``the sorrow that clings to life,'' she can only be comforted by her lover's ``tough resilience.'' Other stories describe a date in an empty restaurant that helps a writer and his girlfriend understand that, though the way they think may be completely different, they are the ``archetypal couple'' whose relationship is the ``dance of two souls resonating like the twist of DNA'' (``Helix''); a man's encounter on a train with a stranger who reveals to him a universal life force that encompasses even ``the slight feeling of alienation'' he experiences in his marriage (``Newly-Wed''); a young wife's liberating realization that her marriage is secure (``Kimchee''); and the revelation of a family secret that offers hope to a woman with a sexual past (``A Strange Tale from Down by the River''). In general, the stories are too slender to support Yoshimoto's attempts to detail spiritual awakenings. As insubstantial as sushi without the fish. (First printing of 75,000) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Banana Yoshimoto was born in 1964. She has won numerous prizes in her native Japan, and her first book, Kitchen, has sold millions of copies worldwide. She lives in Tokyo. Kitchen and her highly praised novel, N.P., are both available from Washington Square Press.
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