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Kitchen Paperback – 23 Jul 1997


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Product details

  • Paperback: 150 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (23 July 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571171044
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571171040
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto juxtaposes two tales about mothers, transsexuality, bereavement, kitchens, love and tragedy in contemporary Japan.

About the Author

Banana Yoshimoto was born in 1964. She is the author of Kitchen, N.P., Lizard, Amrita, Asleep and Goodbye Tsugumi. Her writing has won numerous prizes around the world.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Miss C. Valcin on 25 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback
This is the first book that I read of Yoshimoto's work. This piece was really different from the type of books that I usually read but I was pleasantly surprised. The theme of this book is quite an unusual one of our main character's struggle to come to terms with the death of the last member of family that she has. Felling utterly alone, Mikage comes to live with a friend and his transsexual mother and we learn of each of their stories. Mikage finds comfort in one of the most mundane things in our lives, the kitchen. Here she finds the time to heal and come to terms with the great loss that she feels. Yoshimoto uses simple imagery to portray complex ideas which makes it a refreshing and enjoyable read. Her style of writing also draws you into the world of the characters. Although this book does not go into much depth outside of the ideas of loss and mourning, this being my only criticism, I would recommend this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By reedydeluxe on 26 July 2008
Format: Paperback
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto was always going to find its way into my life somehow. Im a fan of Haruki Murakami, and after reading a sparkling review of Kitchen, i decided to give it a go.

The author notes in the preface that this is a story that she has always wanted to tell, and the agonising emotions laid down throughout the book are not dissimilar to the outpouring of feeling a band will display in thier first album. and although the story can be at times confusing and impulsive, Yoshimoto throws pure feeling at us with every page.

The main story revolves simply around a boy and a girl falling beautifully for eachother, however around love is a landscape littered with sadness and the death of almost everyone else they ever felt for.
Unmistakably Japanese in style, and unique in the way the words are placed upon the pages, i would recommend Kitchen to anyone who is looking for something truly original to read.

It is tough going at times, but the words flow easliy enough to make sure that the read is satisfying and will leave you looking at things around you through different eyes. A simple but nevertheless decent book.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Page on 3 Feb. 2007
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most famous Japanese postmodern novels. The main plot about a modern young woman struggling with grief and trying to find love is very touching and delicately handled really. A female protagonist obsessed with kitchens sounds potentially annoying, but she is actually quite likeable, and it is obvious a lot of Yoshimoto's personal experiences and affections have gone into her character. The plot follows Mikage's attempts to reconstruct her life after it was shattered by the death of the last member of her family.

It is interesting and unique, introducing many daring and ununsual themes, such as obsession, bereavement, motherhood and transsexualism. The novel does not go into much depth in its discussions of these themes, mostly relying on a certain ineffable something to convey its message. The characters' personality deformities are treated as natural and even endearing, and the often bizarre nature of the themes is accepted as an inevitable part of life.

There is nothing really deep about this novel. One feels concern and affection for the fates of the characters, and an interest in the themes of the novel. However, it is very short - I read it in one sitting. I believe there could have been room to discuss in depth some of the interesting issues that Yoshimoto raises here, but I suppose that was neither her intention nor desire. Perhaps she wishes to say that it is pointless worrying about such things, that one should just accept them and carry on with life, because otherwise something wonderful might be missed in the present or just around the corner.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susie B TOP 100 REVIEWER on 7 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback
Mikage, the heroine of Banana Yoshimoto's novella 'Kitchen' is an orphan who, since the death of her parents, has been cared for by her grandmother, who lives in a large apartment with a very comfortable and comforting kitchen. When her grandmother sadly dies, Mikage finds solace by taking her bed into the kitchen and sleeping next to the old refrigerator with its reassuring hum. Mikage knows she can't continue to spend her days and nights ensconced in the comfort of her grandmother's kitchen, but she can't seem to find the energy to move her life forward; therefore when an acquaintance of hers, a young man named Yuichi Tanabe, offers her a home with him and his very glamorous mother, Eriko, in their well-appointed apartment, Mikage finds herself agreeing - and when she arrives at the Tanabes' home and falls immediately in love with their kitchen, she knows she has come to the right place.

As Mikage gets to know Yuichi better, she realises he is a more interesting and unusual young man than she first thought, but Yuichi's mother (who, before her sex change, was his father) is an even more unusual individual. However both Yuichi and Eriko make Mikage feel welcomed and wanted, and slowly, as she spends more time with the Tanabes, Mikage begins to cope with the loss of her beloved grandmother. But then something happens to Eriko that changes the dynamics of Mikage and Yuichi's relationship - however is this a change for the better or worse for our two protagonists?

First-person narrated by Mikage, this is an unusual and off-beat love story, written in a charming, idiosyncratic style which, in places, has passages which seem almost dreamlike. One to read and enjoy in one sitting (this is more novella than novel) and then possibly to put back on the bookshelf to experience again when you feel the need for something a little different.

4 Stars.
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