- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Washington Square Press; Original edition (March 1 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0671898264
- ISBN-13: 978-0671898267
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.1 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 249 g
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,793,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
NP Paperback – Mar 1 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
The author of Kitchen, portrays a dead Japanese writer's story collection and a mysterious curse that dooms those who attempt to translate the last one.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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 is available from Washington Square Press.
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There are some vivid turns of phrase, particularly about loving summertime (does this constitute variance from venerating spring?). The dangerous woman leaves, and at the end the son seems to be falling in love with the only living character to whom he is not related by blood (pretty conventional, no?). What's the fuss about? Something lost in translation seems unlikely.
"NP" is for us a novel written in Japanese, translated into English about a novel written in English that is in the process of being translated into Japanese. Confussed? That tends to happen a little with this book.
Well written in Yoshimoto's wonderful and flowing style, this is a story of sucide, love, sex, death and depression. Dark, oft times funny and always powerful, Yoshimoto has come up with another hit.
This is a wonderful story that takes Yoshimoto's wonderful prose to places that it has never traveled to before. The most impressive things about Yoshimoto are her style with its unimpossing voice and her way to get inside her characters and to bring such devistated and yet hopeful people to life in so few pages.
Yoshimoto should be on the reading list for all young Americans. She is gifted and brings the life of twenty-somethings in Japan, to us clearly and quickly, and in doing so, shows us a people that really are just like us, deep down where it counts.
The idea is very haunting. An author who writes short stories so powerful he, as well as those who try to translate them (from English to Japanese), end up committing suicide. The author's children and the translator's ex-girlfriend meet, become friends, fall in love and part after one summer. Yet it seems like this novel only skims the surface of possibility. Very strong forces propel one to suicide, and such forces were only hinted at or smoothed over by characters' declarations of how troubled they were and how much they wanted to die. What about the first ninety-seven stories - what part do they play in the characters' lives as well as the novel itself? The characters of Saki and Otohiko don't emerge as individuals either.
At times this reminded me of (also Japanese) movie 'The Ring', with the mysterious deaths and its general eerie unsettling undertone. But its explanations are hardly convincing enough.
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