The Lake – Banana Yoshimoto

The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto

Translated from the Japanese by Michael Emmerich

Melville House, Brooklyn, 2011

Borrowed from my library.

This is another beautiful book from Banana Yoshimoto.  I now want to read all of her work.

The Lake starts out slowly.  I found I had to slow down, quiet down, before I could be comfortable with these pages.

Chihiro, a young mural artist, is trying to understand the relationship that is developing with her neighbor, Nakajima. After caring for her mother through a long illness, Chihiro has just returned from her funeral.  She feels disconnected from her father and can’t figure out her emotional attachment to the strange young man who has started sleeping over.

Yoshimoto’s writing is simple and subtle, her characters are  lovable and a bit odd.  The mystery pulls you in like quicksand, before you know it you are caught.  This story feels old-fashioned but Yoshimoto breaths life into language and plot in a way I find extraordinary.  There are little gems hidden in places that surprise.

That’s how it goes.  Things look different depending on your perspective.

As I see it, fighting to bridge those gaps isn’t really what matters.  The most important thing is to know them inside and out, as differences, and to understand why certain people are the way they are.  From page 127.

You don’t necessarily have to want to become an adult; it happens as a matter of course, as you go, making choices.  The important thing, I think, is to choose for yourself.  From page 136.

It would give too much away to tell more of this story.  If you liked Kitchen or Lizard I think you will enjoy The Lake.

I read this novel as part of the Japanese Literature Challenge 5.  Why don’t you join in?


Filed under InTranslation, LiteraryFiction, Review

20 responses to “The Lake – Banana Yoshimoto

  1. Ti

    I haven’t read anything by this author. To be honest, her name turned me off a bit which is silly, I know. I am just now seeing the books everywhere.

  2. Eva

    I read this via Netgalley, and it definitely confirmed she’s a go-to author for me! I think I’ve read four of her books now; Lizard’s up next.

  3. I liked Kitchen I will rewad this also a some point Gavin every review or mention I ve seen of it has been postive so far ,all the best stu

  4. Wow! This is a book that I need to read if you enjoyed it. Great review.

  5. So glad to hear this is another winner! I really enjoyed Kitchen and have a couple more Yoshimoto titles waiting on my shelf…. wish The Lake was one of them.

  6. I’ve not read any Yoshimoto yet, but might as part of Jap Lit V. I think I have some Ogawa coming up… (not read anything by her either).

  7. I love Banana Yoshimoto, she is one of my favourite. I have not read this one but need to get it. It sounds wonderful.

  8. I will be reading this one soon! I haven’t read any of Yoshimoto’s works though and I am excited about reading this.

  9. Can’t wait to read this! I have a copy…it’s just sitting on my TBR shelf waiting for me….like so many other books :p

  10. Pingback: The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto « chasing bawa

  11. Pingback: The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto « JoV's Book Pyramid

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