Friday, June 24, 2011

Banana ... Yoshimoto

"I saw the sky and sea and sand and the flickering flames of the bonfire through my tears. All at once, it rushed into my head with tremendous speed, and made me feel dizzy. It was beautiful. Everything that happened was shockingly beautiful, enough to make you crazy." (N.P.)

I heard about Banana Yoshimoto a few years ago, when Humanitas published her novel "Kitchen", but I didn't manage to read it or other books by this author,whose real name is Yoshimoto Mahoko, until this week, when I came across N.P.

N.P. (North Point) is the name of an old song and the book of ninety seven stories that an obscure writer called Takase Sarao wrote before committing suicide, and the newly found ninety eighth story makes its translator kill himself as well. The characters seem to linger between possessing and being possessed, moving towards one another with the slow pace of the burning sun during a hot summer day.
Kazami, the narrator of the story befriends Takase's twins, Otohiko and Saki, but later in the novel develops a strange relationship with Sui, the lover but also daughter of Takase himself. Between incest and melancholy, the characters go in search of passion just to find the obsession of suicide, as a curse for those who get near the ninety eighth story... Will they go beyond this presumed curse to find just the sad love story of a summer? It's for you to discover...


Bellezza said...

What a cover you have pictured in your post! The copy I read was much more 'tame'. :)

I didn't know about Banana's real name; it makes sense that the one she uses is a pseudonym as I alway thought it a bit strange.

Her books are so compelling with the way that she creates a mood, and the way she tends to leave some things almost unanswered. At least to my American mind, which has been so used to every resolution solved by the end of the novel.

I've had a difficult time writing of her books, they're so hard to describe, but I think you did a fabulous job here. Much better than my own review which I can barely remember now as it was last summer.

Ally said...

Thank you for your lovely comment :)
It's the cover for the Romanian edition, the one which I managed to read in about 3 hours :)
I used to love books that had a clear ending, but not that much anymore, although it can be frustrating not to know the "whole" story :)

parrish lantern said...

not come across this one, though do have kitchen on the shelf in front of me.

Ally said...

@Parrish lantern: Thanks for passing by :) N.P. is indeed a nice book, but I am not sure, after reading The Lake, which one is better...