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on 16 May 2017
Each of the three novellas in Asleep are written very well and totally engrossing. Although all three are less that 80 pages, to me they felt like novels. I mean that in the best way possible. Each story is so simple, yet has so much meaning. Highly recommended!
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on 25 March 2009
This book is truly something out of the ordinary and nothing like what I have read before. This book takes you on a journey through our inner psyche, the place that is taken by our dreams and our subconscious. Yoshimoto explores a range of different, very abstract ideas about our inner worlds and what our dreams compromise of. There are various connected themes, and there are points in the book that are spellbinding, lonely, and utterly creative. If you are a Yoshimoto fan, this book will certainly please.
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on 31 January 2002
Against the background of the routine, everyday life of Japanese youth Yoshimoto's writing delves into the depths of consciousness from such a unique angle and from such a refreshing viewpoint that it made this collection of novellas strangely spellbinding.
Sleep is her main theme and runs throughout the three individual stories. The sense of loss and loneliness is prevalent, as is Yoshimoto's preoccupation with the night and by association the not quite so real world. Ghosts, psychics, sleepwalkers and suicide victims all feature in this book as part of dreams or chance encounters.
The narrative appears disjointed at first, time shifts about in no clear chronological order, it is only at the end when all the pieces fit into place. The main character in each story narrates a time in their life when they, or in the case of the first story, a cousin, started slipping away, started stepping out of normal life and just slept, all the time. This 'fading away' of the characters and the reasons for their deterioration is gradually unfolded as the traumatic, tragic event that changed the lives of these once typical young people is told. By weaving the threads of surreal ideas into the fabricate of a normal context Yoshimoto produces an extremely readable and interesting book.
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I love Banana Yoshimoto. Her work is delicate, subtle and thought provoking. She talks about young people in modern Japan but in a way which links her firmly in the traditions of Japanese writing. She seems preoccupied with liminal states, the half life between death and life, the hypnotic states of sleep and dreaming and the preoccupation with how a city, and indeed a life can change tempo completely between night and day.

These three novellas, included in this volume look at all these themes and give a brief window on a world of ghosts and memory that is tantalizing and enticing. Her work is quite poetic and reminds me of a stripped down Haruki Murukami in places.

I enjoyed these works, not as much as Kitchen, which is my favourite of her books, but it's still definitely worth reading, although I'd recommend one of her novels if you're new to her work, slight though they are.
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on 1 December 2007
I came to this book with high hopes, but quickly came down to earth. The three novellas tell vaguely interesting tales,with female characters exhibiting various degrees of depression, alienation and sleep disorder symptoms - but to me, it quickly became rather dirge-like, insubstantial and unsatisfying. The air of pseudo-mysticism became irritating and the quality of the prose was not good enough to lift the book into any kind of relevance - you may have guessed - I wasn't keen on it! Not bad, but certainly not brilliant.
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on 4 June 2016
I'm sensing a theme here Miss Banana and I like it. As usual the characters and their emotional stories drew me in as the theme of death was explored three fold. There's something in the stories being told and the inner monologue of the protagonists that is so relatable. I'm beginning to grow fond of this here fruit.
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on 12 March 2003
I first discovered Banana Yoshimoto when I received this book as a gift from a friend – and I have to say that friend has certainly gone up in my estimations! Like most of Banana Yoshimotos books there is a certain dream like quality about them and although on the surface they seem to be stories about not very much dig a little deeper and you will see how deep they really go; they make a very good reflective read.
Without seeming to the author explores various aspects of human character and you can get as much out of the book as you want to put in. This particular book is nice as the three separate stories means you can pick it up and put it down quite easily however once you have read the whole book the stories fuse together to give you a larger picture.
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on 23 August 2014
Definitely not a book to fall asleep with, brilliantly written as are all her books
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on 20 June 2011
Item didn't arrive. Likely to be Royal Mail. Money refunded
promptly but had to wait over two weeks for confirmation of
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