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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kitchen - Banana Yoshimoto
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...
Published on 26 July 2008 by reedydeluxe

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Read
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...
Published on 25 Mar 2009 by Miss C. Valcin


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Read, 25 Mar 2009
By 
This review is from: Kitchen (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Kitchen - Banana Yoshimoto, 26 July 2008
This review is from: Kitchen (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
4.0 out of 5 stars A simple modern love story, 3 Feb 2007
By 
Andrew Page (Linslade, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Kitchen (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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good and promising prose but unemotional, 14 Jan 2008
By 
E&S "&E" (Milan, Italy) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Kitchen (Paperback)
It is true that Yoshimoto expresses a well structured, easy going and promising prose in this book but I personally found her writing rather cold and lacking in empathy. The result is that this book, which is centered on two very easily moving issues (love and death), is incapable of emotionally involving the reader and leaves nothing to really remember in the long run.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life, death and the joy of kitchens., 21 July 2004
This review is from: Kitchen (Paperback)
Banana Yoshimoto's sparse style of prose evokes a serene sense of repose. It's protagonist, Mikage, is so endearing that one feels that they are reading the intimacies of a close friend. The recently bereaved Mikage finds comfort in Yuichi. Mikage's mourning is averted when Yuichi suffers his own loss. The pain of their mutual bereavement brings the couple together. Mikage and Yuichi find solace in one another, and their touching relationship is both uplifting and inspirational. Kitchen is a novel that is cast with shadows, but is tinged with rays of hope.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 27 Oct 2007
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Kitchen (Paperback)
I came across Banana Yoshimoto quite by accident, and what a happy accident it was. She is a modern Japanese writer who is both accessible to Western readers and yet resolutely Japanese in style and content. Her work is highly rated in Japan, and I can see why. She writes with a lyricism and sparseness that at times resembles poetry, but never shies away from the sometimes grim realities of every day life. The books are always short, novella length, but have so much in them they can stand reading and re-reading. Kitchen is my favourites of her work. The narrator, struggles to come to terms with the death of a close friend and her complex relationship with his son. The story sounds slight, but nothing could be further from the truth.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible, a true understated masterpiece, 23 Feb 2003
This review is from: Kitchen (Paperback)
It is this book that Banana Yoshimoto first enthralled me with. I read it in two sittings and in it she creates an incredible image of Japanese life. Though written a couple of decades ago, it is timeless, and the ordinary treatment of Mikage's strikingly different Japanese lifestyle makes this so unique to a Westerner such as myself. Though the subjects are apparently bland, there is always a slight air of the supernatural in the way the events are put forward, and the prose is enchanting - there is the very real possibility of both laughing and crying with genuine sadness within two pages of each other!
It is hard to write about a book I love so much without bias, but it is truly difficult to find any flaws in the book. Perhaps the second tale is a little contrived and the jump between them is bewildering as there is little introduction to the second tale, but this may perhaps be intentional.
The subject of food and kitchens is one that I could easily relate to, even across the continental divide and even though I am not a particular 'foodie'. It is the incredible description of a kitchen that can really make you stop reading and think, not of any particular image of a kitchen, but of the exact mood you know Mikage feels as she dreams of her old kitchen and steps into her new, foreign but friendly kitchen. The way Banana Yoshimoto elevates the kitchen to such high importance is amazing.
The whole episode of going out in the middle of the night and chancing upon an incredibly good take-away restaurant and then going hundreds of miles by taxi and climbing up the side of a hotel to deliver some food is incredibly ridiculous, but it is because the author seems to agree 'isn't this strange?' that you have to laugh even when the twisted tale gets more and more distressing.
It is a dumbfounding book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Story, Great Skill, 3 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Kitchen (Paperback)
Firstly, anyone looking for more reviews of this book should look at the US Amazon site, where there are several. I would just echo one of the opinions stated there, i.e. although this book is so good that it can take a bad translation, it would be good to see an improved or new version someday. If English is your only language, this shouldn't discourage you from reading Kitchen, a powerful story told with great skill.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining novel with a lack of depth, 20 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Kitchen (Paperback)
This novel (and short story) is easy to read and conveys student life in Tokyo evocatively. Yoshimoto writes in the tradition of Japanese post-war novelists who retain older, more traditional themes. Her magic-realism is a little forced, and the book has a slightly immature and teenage feel to it, emphasising emotions but adding little depth to the reflections. It is entertaining, but not sophisticated. Her later novels are more mature and more impressive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Lost in translation", 22 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Kitchen (Paperback)
Read in both Japanese and English. Her unique style is sadly lost in translation. It would be very difficult to translate in English the rhythm, onomatopoeia,change of mood, though. Original Japanese version is much better.
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Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto (Paperback - 23 July 1997)
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