BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto, translated by Michael Emmerich

LakeBalanced with deft reminders of impermanence –from vivid dreams and outdoor art to once-a-year cherry blossoms and death – Banana Yoshimoto’s latest is a love story with a higher-than-usual satisfying-sigh factor. Chihiro, an artist, and Nakajima, a graduate student in genetics, finally meet after watching and waving to each other from their respective apartment windows across a Tokyo street. They’re both unconventional and seemingly untethered souls; they’ve both lost their beloved mothers. They meander into a sweet, simple life together, although past secrets involving a mysterious brother and sister who live by an ethereal lake threaten to create an emotional divide.

Verdict: Yoshimoto aficionados who have savored any of the dozen-plus novels she’s written over the last three decades since she became a near-instant pop literary phenomenon with Kitchen will recognize her signature crisp, clipped style (thanks to exacting translator Michael Emmerich’s constancy) and revel in her latest cast of quirky characters. Newbies with a penchant for Haruki Murakami’s mind-bending protagonists or Yoko Tawada’s sparse precision will do well to begin their so-called Bananamania with this beguiling title.

Review: “Fiction,” Library Journal, April 1, 2010

Readers: Adult

Published: 2011 (United States)


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