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N. P. [Paperback]

Banana Yoshimoto
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Mar 1995
"Bananamania" has returned in an enchanting new novel of uncanny sulbtlety, style, magic, and mystery that Frank Ramirez of the South Bend Tribune declares is "every bit as good as Yoskimoto's first book ... perhaps better." A celebrated Japanese writer has committed suicide, leaving behind a collection of stories written in English, N.P. But the book may never be published in his native Japan: each translator who takes up the ninety-eighth story chooses death too -- including Kazami Kano's boyfriend, Shoji. Haunted by Shoji's death, Kazami is inexorably drawn to three young people whose lives are intimately bound to the late writer and his work. Over the course of an astonishing summer, she will discover the truth behind the ninety-eighth story -- and she will come to believe that "everytking that had happened was shockingly beautiful enough to make you crazy."

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Product details

  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (1 Mar 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671898264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671898267
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 12 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,895,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars NP 2 Aug 2004
By rp
What surprised me about this book is that Banana Yoshimoto's strengths lie in the areas she is most criticised. Often people speak of her books as having weak plots, or "not being about" much, but there's a suprising amount going on in this novella. It deals with a range of issues, mostly surrounding family and translation. Yoshimoto has alot to say on these subjects. She often puts her best bits of writing into the specch of her characters, so perhaps it's not suprising that it's ignored.
What isn't good is the more everyday bits of dialogue and the characterisation. All the characters are too similar (though admitedly this is part of the point of the story).
Sometimes she doesn't think like a writer and comes across as amateurish. She says things like "it was so dark I couldn't see my hand in front of me" then in the next to lines "I stared at the waves." Oh yeah? How did you manage that in pitch darkness then.
Much of the writing is clunky (perhaps due to the translation). But occasionally it is very beautiful.
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3.0 out of 5 stars worth reading 24 May 1999
By A Customer
This is my second book of B. Yoshimoto. I still prefer Lizard more and I would recommend you reading it, before Kitchen (I guess this is more interesting than the two I've read). NP, North Point which is actually the name of the place I'm living in, in Hong Kong which seems a bit of a coincidence. I really would want to know the lyrics of the song, if anyone have it, could you please kindly send it to me! NP is interesting and I love the images created in it, that summer heat and the recurring of the image and colour of BLUE, as felt by other readers, she should try writing poems. The relationship between the characters is quite complicated however this complication does not bring me to disgust at the morality of their parents, thanks to the writing of Yoshimoto. On the other hand, NP could not create an attraction to me and make me to read on but I still managed to finish it within 2 days. In fact, I'd rather read the actual story NP, ninety eighth and ninety nineth story than this novel. Anyway, this story is worth reading and can help to get an insight of the new generation of Japanese and perhaps wipe away some of the sterotypes in your minds.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a good intro to bananamania 4 Dec 1998
By A Customer
ok, so yoshimoto doesn't have the social depth of murakami or the poetic minimalism of kawabata. but there's something about this story that still grabs you- she's writing from the heart with a quirky wit and appreciation for how odd yet still very vunerable and human people can be. possibly the translation could have been, uh, different. lizard and kitchen seemed to flow better. still worth a read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars somehow this book creeps under your skin 29 April 1998
By A Customer
i love yoshimoto's writing... just when i think i am not going to get into a book at all, i find myself carrying with me, to do laundry, to run errands, restaurants. I wonder the whole time how she manages to put me in a trance, but her writing is very cool. i have read many of her books, and truthfully i wouldn't recommend her to everyone, but those who like her writing, love her writing.
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By A Customer
Banana Yoshimoto's N.P., the Japanese writer's second novel, is an intriguing tale of suicide, incest, and love set in a hot, sticky Asian summer.
At the center of Yoshimoto's book is the dead writer Sarao Takese, the author of a collection of short stories also called N.P. Takese has fathered two children by his first wife before his own death by suicide: Otihoko and his sister, Saki, both of whom we meet briefly early in the novel through the narrator and protagonist, Kazami. Kazami is drawn to the brother and sister instantly when she first sees them at a party. "I was overwhelmed by the sensation that I had actually met them before in my dreams, but then, in the next moment, I came back to my senses, aware that anyone who saw these two would feel the same way," she says. "I couldn't take my eyes off of them."
After running into Okihoto by chance some five years later, Kazami is quickly drawn into the tragic life of him and his sister, and she begins to reveal more of her own tragic story. Divorce and suicide are common elements to both Kazami and the Takeses. Kazami was raised by her mother after her father abandoned the family, and her lover Shoji has killed himself; similarly, Okihoto and Saki were raised by their mother after her divorce, and the Takese family has had to come to terms with Sarao's suicide.
Things get even more complicated when the enigmatic character Sui enters. Sui, it turns out, is both Okihoto's lover and half sister; not only that, she has also been the lover‹inadvertently‹of their common father, Sarao Takese, and of Kazami's now-dead lover.
Unlike many American novels, however, this is a story about love and the mysteries of attraction, not sex.
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5.0 out of 5 stars wow. 13 Dec 1997
By A Customer
Wow. I don't even know where to begin about this book. It was the first book that I have ever read by this author. I have never been really entranced by a book, but after reading NP, that changed. I think what I liked about this book was that it is hard for the average person to imagine, yet it is so insanely real that it makes your head spin. I reccomend this book to anyone who wants to get a feel for the Gen-X of Japan, and the cruel reality of the world.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks amazon...
I don't like to rate books because all they are a piece of art for me. I couldn't find this book in my area and ordered from amazon by "World of Books Ltd" 30 sept. Read more
Published on 4 Oct 2010 by Fatih Diner
5.0 out of 5 stars a very moving text
This is probably my favorite book ever. It moves me in places I didn't know I could be moved. It makes me feel so sad that I need to cry, and at the same time so happy that I can... Read more
Published on 5 Oct 1999
Published on 12 April 1999
2.0 out of 5 stars Leisure Reading
Easy to read, quite interesting, good for leisure reading, positive, and yet not arresting, somehow too simple to be remembered.
I read the English translation. Read more
Published on 24 Mar 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Banana Rocks!!!
I've only read two Japanese authors: Yoshimoto & this guy who the Japanese really revere but who's name I can't remember. Read more
Published on 24 Jan 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars First and LAST Yoshimoto book I will ever read
Throughout the story, characters talk about the powerful and touching nature of the 98th story so much that the reader can't help but feel jealous -- if that story is so... Read more
Published on 8 April 1998
2.0 out of 5 stars 'Hello Kitty' w/ a pinch of incest
I don't know whether it's the way Yoshimoto writes or if the book loses something in the translation, but this novel seems to seriously lack depth. Read more
Published on 1 Dec 1997
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