Author: Banana Yoshimoto
Date Published: First published in 2005, translated in 2011
Genre: Non-Western Literature
Page Count: 208 pages
Challenge: E-Book Challenge
**A portion of all sales of this book will be donated to the Japan Disaster Relief Fund**
Brief Synopsis: It tells the tale of a young woman who moves to Tokyo after the death of her mother, hoping to get over her grief and start a career as a graphic artist. She finds herself spending too much time staring out her window, though ... until she realizes she’s gotten used to seeing a young man across the street staring out his window, too.
They eventually embark on a hesitant romance, until she learns that he has been the victim of some form of childhood trauma. Visiting two of his friends who live a monastic life beside a beautiful lake, she begins to piece together a series of clues that lead her to suspect his experience may have had something to do with a bizarre religious cult. . . .
My Thoughts: I have read one other Banana Yoshimoto novel for a Non-Western literature class, and I loved it. Naturally, I was excited when I got this from NetGalley. I was not disappointed at all.
Both Chihiro and Nakajima have suffered loss in their lives. Both are now motherless and their early family life left something to be desired. But, as they begin seeing more of each other, Chihiro learns that Nakajima has dealt with some incredibly painful things; things that she herself can not begin to understand.
Nakajima is different and unlike anyone that she has ever met before. She has fallen in love with him before she even realizes it for herself and she reflects on when she realized it, and what made her love him. Of course, one of the things the reader wants to know most is, what happened to Nakajima? And although we don't find out until the very end, it is worth the wait.
The layout of this book was a little different that I'm used to. It has no chapters, but everything flows together pretty well. Sometimes when things are translated, you lost some things somewhere in between, but I didn't see that happen here. There were some passages that were so moving and so poignant that I re-read them several times. This is a novel about love, but not in the traditional sense. It's a lot deeper than I expected it to be, which is always a nice surprise. She has a minimalist style of writing, which makes it easier for certain things to come through, and you don't get lost as easily.
I really liked this book. I thank Melville House for sending me this, and giving me the opportunity to read this. Its a short read, but very powerful and wonderful. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys minimalist literary works. I give this book a 4.25 out of 5!
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