Moshi Moshi

      Banana Yoshimoto
Moshi Moshi

In Moshi-Moshi, Yoshie's much-loved musician father has died in a suicide pact with an unknown woman. It is only when Yoshie and her mother move to Shimo-kitazawa, a traditional Tokyo neighborhood of narrow streets, quirky shops, and friendly residents that they can finally start to put their painful past behind them. However, despite their attempts to move forward, Yoshie is haunted by nightmares in which her father is looking for the phone he left behind on the day he died, or on which she is trying--unsuccessfully--to call him. Is her dead father trying to communicate a message to her through these dreams?
With the lightness of touch and surreal detachment that are the hallmarks of her writing, Banana Yoshimoto turns a potential tragedy into a poignant coming-of-age ghost story and a life-affirming homage to the healing powers of community, food, and family.
Published in 2010 in Japanese in Tokyo, it has sold over 29,000 copies there so far. "In Moshi-Moshi, Banana's narrator addresses the poignant question, how do you rebuild your life when your much-loved father loses his life in shocking circumstances?"

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    The Lake

      Banana Yoshimoto
The Lake

A major literary sensation is back with a quietly stunning tour de force about the redemptive power of love.

While The Lake shows off many of the features that have made Banana Yoshimoto famous—a cast of vivid and quirky characters, simple yet nuanced prose, a tight plot with an upbeat pace—it’s also one of the most darkly mysterious books she’s ever written.

It tells the tale of a young woman who moves to Tokyo after the death of her mother, hoping to get over her grief and start a career as a graphic artist. She finds herself spending too much time staring out her window, though ... until she realizes she’s gotten used to seeing a young man across the street staring out his window, too.

They eventually embark on a hesitant romance, until she learns that he has been the victim of some form of childhood trauma. Visiting two of his friends who live a monastic life beside a beautiful lake, she begins to piece together a series of clues that lead her to suspect his experience may have had something to do with a bizarre secret from his past. . . .

With echoes of real life events, such as the Aum Shinrikyo cult (the group that released poison gas in the Tokyo subway system) and the kidnapping of Japanese citizens by North Korea, The Lake unfolds as the most powerful novel Banana Yoshimoto has written. And as the two young lovers overcome their troubled past to discover hope in the beautiful solitude of the lake in the countryside, it’s also one of her most moving.

From the Hardcover edition.

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    Hardboiled & Hard Luck

      Banana Yoshimoto
Hardboiled & Hard Luck

A collection of two novellas, Hardboiled & Hard Luck concerns two young women making sense of the past. In "Hardboiled," the narrator is hiking in the mountains, reminiscing about an old lover-the only lesbian relationship the narrator ever had-who is now dead. In a dream, she is visited by her ex-lover, who berates her for forgetting the anniversary of her death. Later that night, a woman knocks on her hotel room door, saying that she was locked out of her room by her married lover. The woman turns out to be the ghost of a woman who killed herself in the hotel. The narrator dreams again of her old lover, with a sense of closure.

In "Hard Luck" a woman tells the story of her sister, who has been in a coma for a long time. Although her fiance broke the engagement, his older brother Sakai kept coming to the hospital to visit. There is a touching scene where the sister appears to respond when the narrator and Sakai peel tangerines, which the sister loved. The narrator is now in graduate school, studying Italian literature, preparing to go to Italy. She is drawn to Sakai, and it turns out that the feelings are mutual. The narrator goes to her sister's old company to get her things. Everyone is crying. The narrator talks with her father. Her sister dies and is cremated. The ex-fiance comes to the funeral, and there is a tragic bittersweet reconciliation between the two families. The narrator has a final conversation with Sakai in which it seems he may come to Italy.

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    Kitchen

      Banana Yoshimoto
Kitchen

Banana Yoshimoto's novels have made her a sensation in Japan and all over the world, and Kitchen, the dazzling English-language debut that is still her best-loved book, is an enchantingly original and deeply affecting book about mothers, love, tragedy, and the power of the kitchen and home in the lives of a pair of free-spirited young women in contemporary Japan. Mikage, the heroine of Kitchen, is an orphan raised by her grandmother, who has passed away. Grieving, she is taken in by her friend Yoichi and his mother (who was once his father), Eriko. As the three of them form an improvised family that soon weathers its own tragic losses, Yoshimoto spins a lovely, evocative tale that recalls early Marguerite Duras. Kitchen and its companion story, "Moonlight Shadow," are elegant tales whose seeming simplicity is the ruse of a writer whose voice echoes in the mind and the soul.

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    Goodbye Tsugumi

      Banana Yoshimoto
Goodbye Tsugumi

Maria is the only daughter of an unmarried woman. She has grown up at the seaside alongside her cousin Tsugumi, a lifelong invalid, charismatic, spoiled and occasionally cruel. Now Maria's father is finally able to bring Maria and her mother to Tokyo, ushering Maria into a world of university, impending adulthood, and a 'normal' family. When Tsugumi invites Maria to spend a last summer by the sea, a restful idyll becomes a time of dramatic growth as Tsugumi finds love, and Maria learns the true meaning of home and family. She also has to confront both Tsugumi's inner strength and the real possibility of losing her.

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    Asleep

      Banana Yoshimoto
Asleep

Banana Yoshimoto has a magical ability to animate the lives of her young characters, and here she spins the stories of three women, all bewitched into a spiritual sleep. One, mourning a lost lover, finds herself sleepwalking at night. Another, who has embarked on a relationship with a man whose wife is in a coma, finds herself suddenly unable to stay awake. A third finds her sleep haunted by another woman whom she was once pitted against in a love triangle. Sly and mystical as a ghost story, with a touch of Kafkaesque surrealism, Asleep is an enchanting book from one of the best writers in contemporary international fiction.

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