Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
trans. Megan Backus
(Grove Press, New York: 1994)
READ: July 2007
The first of the two novellas included in this book yanked out my heart strings and then carefully replaced them one by one. The second one didn't have quite that impact, but it was nevertheless worth every word.
This being the second book of Yoshimoto's that I have read, I am starting to get a feel for her style. Her prose is simple, yet even the most straightforward of sentences often uncovers a tumultous layer of emotion. While I don't think it's entirely necessary, I feel that having gone to Japan for a year allowed me to better understand the Japanese psyche that runs through her work, the almost clinical detachment that some of the characters display. These are both beautiful stories of loss and love.