5 5A couple of days ago, I watched a film called Millenium Actress, a Japanese anime film centered around the life of a once wildly popular Japanese film star I loved it for its lovely story as well as its wonderful animation, but most of all for its peculiar disregard of many of the rules of film that I hadn t realized I unconsciously followed until they were subverted This sort of bending and breaking of my own sensibilities into something I had never considered something that would work is rampant in this book here, on a much heartbreaking level As both the film and the book are Japanese, there could be a correlation that other partakers of that particular cultural entertainment would be familiar with, but I shy away from labeling it as something inherent on a sociocultural level Instead, I will describe it on my own te This is a book on healing, a lovely look at the hurting human heart and its captivating reflection Convalescence has never been so beautiful One has to admit that the theme of loss in literature has been one of the most exploited and has been done so masterfully by the best But never have I encountered one on recovery where it has been handled as exquisitely Everyone we love is dying Still, to cease living is unacceptable When you lose someone, a void is created You seek to fill that hole inside you Stability is what you desire, because your once solid world of certainties has crumbled And so we latch onto the most basic things and habits Constant things we know that will never leave and never fail us a kitchen, cooking, the road, running, clothing, videos, pictures, songs, books You lean on that, get strength from the habit till you are stron Can cooking help you cope with the despondency you feel from loss I m not talking about wolfing down garlic mashed potatoes from a pan I m talking about a multi course gourmet meal that you are willing to toss out if it s not perfect and start all over again That s the theme of Kitchen Our main character is a twentyish woman who lost her father at an early age and then her mother She went to live with grandparents but her grandfather died, and then her grandmother, and now she has no living relatives She turns to her kitchen But she is also invited to live with the family of a young man she has known since childhood Now here s a modern family just two people, the young man and his mother But did I tell you hi Oh, let s face it I love everything Banana Yoshimoto s ever written But that said, she s not for everyone she s a minimalist storyteller, at least in my opinion, able to turn the emotional state of the right reader with the flick of just one beautiful perfect phrase, but only if you re ready to catch that beautiful perfect phrase and appreciate it for what it is Give up on this review yet Then you shouldn t be reading Yoshimoto Actually consisting of two novellas, Kitchen named after the better of the two is the story of 1990s urban life in Japan, full of quirky postmodern characters right at the beginning of an age where the Web let everyone on the planet understand that If you liked the movie Amelie, you ll love the sparse, haunting story of a hurt woman being told here, who slowly learns to trust the world again through the relative warmth of urb One of the many things I love about goodreads is that a person is able to see what other friends think about a novel before committing oneself to reading it I would have never read KITCHEN had I not seen that Mariel, Oriana, and Jason Pettus, three of my friends, all thought highly of this slim book But, even with the high ratings of these three friends , I still had to find out information about Banana Yoshimoto, the author So I went to Wikipedia obviously, where else would I go and read about her accomplishments and many literary awards in her home country of Japan It seemed there was a phase lovingly referred to as Bananamania both in the US and in Japan Then, just as I had decided that perhaps this book was not worth moving to the top of my TBR pile, I saw that Yoshimoto had outspokenly said that she aims to w
People aren t overcome by situations or outside forces defeat invades from within I didn t like this book It comprises a novella Kitchen and short story Moonlight Shadow , but I m not sure how much is the book s fault, and how much can be attributed to being set in an unfamiliar culture Japanese teens twenties , possibly bad translation, and that although the atmosphere is contemporary, it was actually written and set nearly 30 years ago.
I was expecting lyrical language, and quirky insights into Japanese attitudes to death and LGBTQ issues I was sadly disappointed, but kept going because it was short and because I gave up part way through my previous book something I rarely do.
Language Teens and TranslationThe weaknesses here made me sad Both stories are narrated by a different young woman The language is often simple, but rather than the spare beauty I vaguely ass ✓ キッチン [Kitchin] Í 2 quirky, lazy, sloppy stars I wanted to like this book very much In the end, I couldn t Poor writing, incongruent character psychologies and inane dialogue took any enjoyment away from a rather sweet melancholy love story Another little novella was included in this volume Moonlight Shadow I do not have the patience nor the stamina to read it.
if a person hasn t ever experienced true despair, she grows old never knowing how to evaluate where she is in life never understanding what joy really is I m grateful for it.
Samadrita in her excellent review began with There s something about Japanese writers They have the unparalleled ability of transforming an extremely ordinary scene from our everyday mundane lives into something magical and other worldly.
I thoroughly agree with her and that magical quality transforms what could have been a rather banal book into a great one.
The book is divided into two stories both concerning young Japanese women.
KitchenMikage Sakurai has lost her dearly beloved grandmother whom she had been living with, and she feels lost, alone and vulnerable She s now an orphan as there are no other relatives The tide has gone out and she doesn t