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Kitchen

by Banana Yoshimoto

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,1911072,182 (3.72)238
"When Banana Yoshimoto's Kitchen was first published in Japan in 1988, "Banana-mania" seized the country. Kitchen won two of Japan's most prestigious literary prizes, climbed its way to the top of the best-seller list, then remained there for over a year and sold millions of copies. With the appearance of the critically acclaimed Tugumi (1989) and NP (1991), the Japanese literary world realized that in Banana Yoshimoto it was confronted not with a passing fluke but with a full-fledged phenomenon: a young writer of great talent and great passion whose work has quickly earned a place among the best of twentieth-century Japanese literature." "Banana Yoshimoto's Kitchen is an enchantingly original and deeply affecting book that juxtaposes two tales about mothers, transsexuality, kitchens, love, tragedy, and the terms they all come to in the minds of a pair of free-spirited young women in contemporary Japan. Told in a whimsical style that recalls the early Marguerite Duras, "Kitchen" and its companion story, "Moonlight Shadow," are elegant tales whose seeming simplicity is the ruse of a masterful storyteller. They are the work of a very special new writer whose voice echoes in the mind and the soul."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved… (more)
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» See also 238 mentions

English (96)  Spanish (4)  Italian (2)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  All languages (105)
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
The entire book was very melancholy, but it was so sweet. A really short read, I got through it in a matter of days, and I loved it. ( )
  astronomist | Oct 3, 2021 |
Kitchen is two stories (Kitchen and Moonlight Shadow). Both are about two young women grieving the loss of loved ones. It follows how the deaths are playing in their lives and relationships moving forward and what those deaths mean for them.

I did enjoy both stories but there were some places where the writing felt right and beautiful and made me feel the narrator's loss, but then there were places that just seemed... off? I'm sure it's just the translation of it, which I've had problems with in some translated books I've read in the past. Overall I'm not holding it against the book at all. I kept turning the pages and wanted to see the character come out well on the other side. Everyone deals with loss in a different way and these novellas show that. ( )
  oldandnewbooksmell | Sep 24, 2021 |
Why this book? The author was mentioned in a question about
  Jinjer | Jul 19, 2021 |
When was it I realized that, on this truly dark and solitary path we all walk, the only way we can light is our own? Although I was raised with love, I was always lonely.

Someday, without fail, everyone will disappear, scattered into the blackness of time. I've always lived with that knowledge rooted into my being...


A few of things to start: This is not a novel; it's a novella and a novelette with interlocking themes. (I rather like the arrangement and I wish more publishers or authors would consider it.) I had no real notion of what it is, and of course books don't come with content warnings, so the violent death in the middle of the first story was a bit of a shock. (Rather unfortunately, a 'bury your queers' kind of shock.) Finally, the stories were written in 1987 or so, and the transgender issues are tackled about like you'd expect them to be in 1987. (That is to say, with a lot of misgendering of the trans character and no granting of any reality to the transition by the other characters. I don't feel that that is how the author necessarily felt.) None of these were deal breakers for me, but I know they may be for others.

Now, as to actual review. For the first two thirds of the first story, I was sure it was going to be a five star, knock it out of the park read. But then the first story settled into really a rather pedestrian ending, and then the second story was honestly pretty much a mess. (Yes I am aware it received a prestigious award. No I don't understand. No I don't care to.) I'm very glad I read this, for the glowing Eriko and the lovely asides on death and living if nothing else. And I will be trying a few more samplings from Ms. Yoshimoto before I make up my mind. Maybe the greatness will be more apparent to me in another story. Hopefully one without a love triangle. Or a fridging. ( )
  amyotheramy | May 11, 2021 |
i told my friend that i've picked up this book to read. she said she's familiar with it and has actually read it five times already. now i understand why.

its a slice-of-life story (actually, 3 novella's rolled into 1), of people living their daily lives while struggling with immense grief, lost, and loneliness. its a very quiet book, no dramatics, no hysterics, but it packs a wallop. i can definitely see myself re-reading this again. ( )
  riida | Apr 8, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
For English-language readers, the appeal of "Kitchen" lies in its portrayal of the lives of young Japanese.
 
Banana Yoshimoto won immediate fame in Japan with the publication of this pair of novellas about two bold and guileless women grappling with emotional loss.
 
Yoshimoto's oriental concision is sometimes idiosyncratic and haiku-like ..., but it's a quality of poignant, dignified resilience that makes this little work worthwhile...
 

» Add other authors (41 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Banana Yoshimotoprimary authorall editionscalculated
Amitrano, GiorgioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Backus, MeganTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaneshiro-Jager, E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kraemerová, AliceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nieminen, KaiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schlecht, Wolfgang E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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私がこの世で一番好きな場所は台所だと思う。(キッチン)
私の終り、えり子さんが死んだ。(満月)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"When Banana Yoshimoto's Kitchen was first published in Japan in 1988, "Banana-mania" seized the country. Kitchen won two of Japan's most prestigious literary prizes, climbed its way to the top of the best-seller list, then remained there for over a year and sold millions of copies. With the appearance of the critically acclaimed Tugumi (1989) and NP (1991), the Japanese literary world realized that in Banana Yoshimoto it was confronted not with a passing fluke but with a full-fledged phenomenon: a young writer of great talent and great passion whose work has quickly earned a place among the best of twentieth-century Japanese literature." "Banana Yoshimoto's Kitchen is an enchantingly original and deeply affecting book that juxtaposes two tales about mothers, transsexuality, kitchens, love, tragedy, and the terms they all come to in the minds of a pair of free-spirited young women in contemporary Japan. Told in a whimsical style that recalls the early Marguerite Duras, "Kitchen" and its companion story, "Moonlight Shadow," are elegant tales whose seeming simplicity is the ruse of a masterful storyteller. They are the work of a very special new writer whose voice echoes in the mind and the soul."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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