I finished Lizard, a collecton of six short stories, about a week ago, and have been trying to digest the contents ever since. My thoughts? Scrambled! If I thought I was going to sit down with a few cute, easily read stories, then I was mistaken. They were thought provoking; so much so, that I had to go back and re-read certain parts to clarify my thoughts as to the meanings of some things.
As I think back, I have read a couple of Japanese short stories before, and as I remember, they were mildly depressing. A lot of mention of unhappy childhoods, fears, loss, ghosts, bizarre sex lives, and pain. Certainly each story in the Lizard collection has some of that going on. Fortunately much of the unhappiness is in the past, and although some of the story pertains to the lasting pain & fear, the characters are able to resolve a good deal of their particular poison memories and fears by the end of the story.
Banana Yoshimoto adds a little 'postscript' at the end of the collection, explaining to the reader her inspirations and purpose in writing these stories. She ends by saying she hopes to continue writing interesting stories. And she does write interesting stories!