ISBN: 2743608625
ISBN 13: 9782743608620
By: Banana Yoshimoto

Check Price Now


Contemporary Currently Reading Favorites Fiction Japan Japanese Japanese Lit Japanese Literature Short Stories To Read

About this book

In these six stories, the author of Tugumi and NP explores themes of time, healing and fate, and how her urban, sophisticated, independent young men and women come to terms with them. The stories are a blend of traditional Japanese and contemporary popular culture.

Reader's Thoughts


Yes and no and yes and no... I was concerned about the apparent trendiness of this author, and not without reason. I was attracted to Yoshimoto by critics' comparisons to Murakami and others. She has very little indeed to do with Murakami, though there is a certain, unusual coexistence of distance and involvement, bearing a resemblance to Murakami's narrators, that I sensed in Yoshimoto's as well. I was very disappointed in nearly all the stories in this volume; I found them "lite." However, after finishing the book (which only took about two hours, if that), I began to notice that my thinking patterns had changed somewhat. Maybe "lite" was just what I needed yesterday evening. The stories certainly do have their merits. I just can't quite articulate what they are.


Banana Yoshimoto always delivers something I cannot find in works by any other author. There's a dreamy yet profound atmosphere around the stories she tells. This collection of stories, especially, isn't so much about the story as it is about the human experience. She has a great gift for getting emotion on paper, most of all the emotions we can't really put our finger on. Also, she doesn't judge. And that is pretty rare too.I can't say I'll remember these stories very well. In fact, I've already forgotten the "plot" of most. But the overall experience was just phenomenal! Fleeting, but phenomenal.


Sei racconti della Yoshimoto. Sei gocce di un profumo soave che inebria i sensi. E' come quando, camminando per strada ci facciamo guidare dall'olfatto. All'inizio percepiamo qualcosa, una profumo, un odore, una scia che ci porta a deviare dai nostri percorsi abituali. I nostri sensi sono stuzzicati, incuriositi e iniziamo se seguire la scia, in un crescendo di sensazioni, senza però capire dove potrà portarci. Fino ad arrivare, alla fine, a scoprire cosa l'ha generata.Con questi racconti è lo stesso. Partono piano, in sordina, per poi crescere di intensità emotiva, fino ad arrivare all'ultima storia, per me la più bella della raccolta.Mi piace il modo di scrivere della Yoshimoto, il suo analizzare l'intimo.


I do enjoy reading Japanese fiction, especially that fiction that stands on the fringes of fantasy and reality. Haruki Murakami is a master of this, with his weird underground people and border universes. Banana Yoshimoto is equally skilled, writing exquisite short stories about the minor strangeness that one might encounter in life.About a strange shapeshifting creature that rides the train, trying to tempt salarymen to leave their lives of dullness and predictability. A woman who can heal with her mind, but finds that it takes a little bit of her soul away each time. A man who creates simple metal amulets that absolutely radiate with the quality of amae, that unique Japanese concept of total immersion in a greater unconditional love.In her afterward to this book, she says that all the stories she chose were those about hope, and the utter terror and exhilaration of finding hope for the first time. Hope, she believes, is not something that we are born with. It is, rather, something that is presented to us, something that comes to us by way of a small change, an insignificant alteration in our reality that gives the glimmering of another way. And that can be a wonderful thing, as so many people say, or it can be utterly repellent. Each case is unique, and this book is a group of six stories about the rise of hope and what can come after....


I read this book yesterday. I thought it would be a light read, since it was a six short stories compilation from Banana. Well, I was wrong. the book got me thinking a lot, and i think the stories fit the 'karma' and 'spiritual' themes Banana inspires very well.My best bet is the last short story: A Strange River from Down the River. I find it relaxing, deep but also complicated. However, I still prefer her novels to her short stories.


I'm beginning to think I have a weakness for short fiction...This book covers so many bases at once. It tells a handful of different kinds of love stories: the woman who heals because she can also kill, and the man who loves her despite her strangeness; the woman who used to be addicted to sex, and is now ready to leave it all behind for a man who gave up the business life to spend with her; the woman who had an affair, and who's lover DID leave his wife for her, despite statistics. Each one is unique and has its own way of showing people drawn together.


I think this may be the best entry point into Banana Yoshimoto's narrative. Not all the short stories are great, but they are at least good, and the format allows for breaks from the emotional and imaginative whirlwind that she puts characters (and readers that get themselves involved) through.She has the gift, or the extremely complex life, of making the tales believable, as if they were autobiographical rather than fiction, and at least for me that magnifies the emotional impact. I am thankful that her books are short, as it would be too demanding otherwise.The title story is quite uplifting, others are a bit of a downer, but it is generally a positive book, even if it deals mostly with her favorite subjects of loss and loneliness. It also breaks through most cultural barriers, presenting the basic humanity of people.


So unfortunately I did that thing I always do where I don't write the review right after I read a book. And now it's 3 weeks later and I'm straining my brain to remember what I wanted to say about the book. Sorry I'm dumb.This was the second book I read by Yoshimoto (my first was Kitchen which I loveeeed) and I really enjoyed it. That's saying a lot for me too because I don't usually enjoy short stories.I'm not sure what exactly I can say that will properly imprint how the book left me feeling. Her writing is beautiful and exact. Short and to the point, and yet still capable of making me remind myself to breathe after a passage makes lose my breath. The stories in Lizard aren't exactly related to each other- rather they all are focused around the idea of hope. She gives us snap shots of someone despairing- either because a drab day or because of life in general - and then ends the story with a glimmer of hope that makes you smile. This whole book makes the attempt to show you that things will be okay.For example the first story shows us a man on the train who is disappointed with his life. He doesn't want to go home to his wife. He's considering just riding the train until the end of the line. Getting off there and starting all over. A random person sits down next to him and starts asking him about his wife and reminding him of the reasons he fell in love with her in the first place. This whole book is like that. There is nothing extraordinary happening. No big revelations. Just snap shots of people going on and making the most of what they have.Since I'm not sure if I am doing a good job explaining this book, I'll leave you with my favorite quote. When I read it, I flipped the page back and read it again. And then I called my best friend and read it to him. I probably would have read it to anyone walking past my porch at the time too. “Your love is different from mine. What I mean is, when you close your eyes, for that moment, the center of the universe comes to reside within you. And you become a small figure within that vastness, which spreads without limit behind you, and continues to expand at tremendous speed, to engulf all of my past, even before I was born, and every word I've ever written, and each view I've seen, and all the constellations, and the darkness of outer space that surrounds the small blue ball that is earth. Then, when you open your eyes, all that disappears. I anticipate the next time you are troubled and must close your eyes again. The way we think may be completely different, but you and I are an ancient, archetypal couple, the original man and woman. We are the model for Adam and Eve. For all couples in love, there comes a moment when a man gazes at a woman with the very same kind of realization. It is an infinite helix, the dance of two souls resonating, like the twist of DNA, like the vast universe. Oddly, at that moment, she looked over at me and smiled. As if in response to what I'd been thinking, she said, "That was beautiful. I'll never forget it.” All in all it was a quick and satisfying read. Pick it up if you get a chance. 3.5 stars Review also on: http://brokeandbookish.blogspot.com


If I had to be stuck reading the fiction of just one country, it would, without a doubt, be Japan. Banana Yoshimoto's short story collection, Lizard was nothing short of adventurous, witty, and insightful. The stories ranged from a mystical encounter on the Tokyo subway, a woman with a lizard tattoo, and a former prostitute getting married.While it's very difficult to grasp the ability of an author's prose when reading a translated book, Yoshimoto must have worked hand in hand with her translator to achieve the level of description and poetry that she did. The content, however, did not disappoint. It may be argued that the eponymous story, Lizard, was the most masterful - a story about a woman with a Lizard tattoo and her lover, the first story, Newlywed, was my favourite. Newlywed is about an everyday encounter turned extraordinary - a homeless man sits down next to an unhappily married man on the subway and starts a conversation about why this married man deliberately missed his stop.The general drift of Japanese post modern literature is echoed throughout her stories. There is an unusual lack of plot and even the character development is kept to a minimum, but never in a bad way. The reader gets to echo the story in their mind almost the same way reality would play them out were they real. All this coupled with the Japanese culture about the power of nature, it is no wonder Banana Yoshimoto has reached the level of popularity in Japan that she has.


This is the second book that I have read by Banana Yoshimoto, the first being Kitchen, which I thoroughly enjoyed. This is a collection of short stories, and I really breezed through it very quickly. Her writing style is almost effortless, yet upon closer examination one can always find deeper meaning: it is by no means shallow or superficial. In addition all of the stories she tells are absolutely fascinating, and the always have so many layers, that by the time you get to the end of the story, you are so far from where you thought you would end up when you started reading it. I think my favourite story was probably Lizard. It surprised, brought a tear to my eye, and I even found myself laugh at a few moments. And, the characters were so interesting, so complex, so human. This book was a true pleasure to read.


J'ai terminé ce recueil de nouvelles ce matin, dans le train pour Montpellier. Pendant l'heure que j'ai mise à finir le livre, j'ai eu l'impression d'être toute seule dans le wagon. Il y a tellement de violence dans les histoires de Banana Yoshimoto, mais c'est toujours de la violence hors-scène -- des choses qui sont arrivées aux personnages avant qu'on les rencontre, les événements qui les ont menés aux situations que l'auteure décide de raconter. Alors d'un côté il y a un courant de fond de passé lourd, de mort & de tristesse & d'isolement & d'étouffement, mais de l'autre c'est très lumineux, très apaisant, les actions & les pensées de ces gens qui apprennent à vivre avec toutes leurs noirceurs. Les histoires ne finissent pas toutes bien, pas exactement, mais elles se terminent toutes dans une espèce de sérénité. Elles laissent l'impression que les personnages acceptent les grandes choses inéluctables de la vie, la solitude la douleur la mort, & qu'au fond c'est pas si difficile, & qu'au fond même nous on en serait capables.& en plus, en plus, ça se lit tout seul.


Racconti emozionanti, a volta belli, a volte meno belli...Alcune di queste storie le ho trovate davvero molto emozionanti, soprattutto "Sogno con Kimchee" e "Strana storia sulla sponde del fiume", che sono stati i capitoli che ho apprezzato maggiormente. La cosa strana è che dopo aver letto questi racconti mi sono sentita anch'io come sollevata da un grosso peso, proprio come accade ai protagonisti di queste storie. Indubbiamente l'autrice è davvero brava a descrivere le emozioni!!!!


This is one of those books that, even if you don't like it, it's not going to hurt you to give it a shot. A good book to read while traveling, maybe. On a road trip or whatever.Several short stories. Sometimes I wonder about how well her stories are translated, because her characters are all remarkably straightforward and unaffected. Most of these are about relationships and how people learn and grow as a result of them.From the author: "I believe that we are not born with hope, but rather that it comes to us as a transforming force. The people in my stories are encountering hope for the first time."


Спочатку книжка не викликає жодного враження. Банана Йосімото — майстриня «іншого» письма в сенсі якоїсь тотальної неістероїдності і нетравматичності. Оповіді ведуться, як правило, від першої особи, рівним тоном, чого б не стосувалися. Вражаючих метафор, напружених колізій у ній нема. Мимоволі починаєш замислюватися — а що є?Оповідання «Ящірки» об'єднує впевненість. Вона повна і водночас невиразна. Це впевненість у поточному моменті. У точці на лінії долі. Але загалом, хіба точка прикладення важливіша за силу, яку можна прикласти?Герої оповідань — умовно молоді люди. Всі вони — учасники парних стосунків. Хтось нещодавно одружився, хтось збирається, хтось робить пропозицію. Тому, певною мірою, всі ці оповідання — про те, що оточує любов. Бо це не любовні оповідання. Перипетії чуттєвого досвіду не цікавлять оповідача. Любов часто оточує самотність, але оповідь і не про неї. Вона про самість — про те, що робить нас унікальними. Про незвичайний талант, уміння, яке веде вперед, і про таємницю, заховану в минулому, колись болісну, але давно прожиту. Тому болі тут немає. А є умиротворення.Це таке, необов'язкове письмо і читання. Справді легка література. Прочитав, і як водою вмився.Однак я не думаю, що під обкладинкою «Ящірки» зібрано найкращі оповідання письменниці, як пишуть в анотації. Заодно і те, що прозі Банани Йосімото властиві легкість складу і надзвичайна психологічна глибина — порожня рекламна фраза. Варто лише чогось очікувати від неї, щоби вона обманула сподівання. Це просто книга, гарний компаньйон для подорожі чи пляжу.


Initially,I had thought I would enjoy this book out of all the others that I've read. But I don't. I think I enjoy it the least. While I like the concepts of time and healing and spirituality, there is something that is missing from these short stories that I've enjoyed so much in her other pieces of fiction. Though, I can't quite pin point what it is that is missing or different here. Initially I thought I would enjoy it the most out of the other works I've read because there is a level of maturity in these short stories that are missing in Kitchen and Hardboiled and Hard Luck. Though, that maturity could just really be attributed to the fact that it's a different translator. As oppose to Yoshimoto's voice changing with time. Because I don't feel like her voice has been lost within these short stories but I feel like this maturity, that when I began reading I loved became something that didn't work. There is almost an absurd playfulness in Kitchen and Hardboiled and Hard Luck or a young woman's voice that I think I missed here. It isn't to say that these short stories aren't good because they are. My favorite being Helix. It is magical. And perhaps that's it. Her stories always have these sense of magic or lack of reality. I don't want to use the word unreal because that doesn't fit exactly, but more like on a realm of the impossible being possible. And while the short stories in Lizard do hold some aspect of impossible possibilities it doesn't take over the stories as much as in the other works I've read.I think the most successful pieces here are: Helix, Dreaming of Kimchee, Newlywed and then Lizard. But even then I think the first three I've mentioned are the most memorable. If you like her work, then you should read this book. It's short and quick. But if you are curious about her work, I'd start with Kitchen and work your way from there.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *