Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lizard, by Banana Yoshimoto

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!

4 comments:

Bellezza said...

I often find myself reading, and rereading myself. I'm not sure if it's the style or the culture which is so unfamiliar to me, but it's taking me quite a long time to digest Kafka on The Shore by Murakami. Well, I also like dwelling in the mood he creates.

I found Kitchen by Banana to be quite sad; I wonder if that is her style. Or, message.

The literature is thought provoking though, isn't it? I often wonder if there's something I should be catching that goes right by me...

caitlin said...

Oh! I'm so glad you wonder the same thing about missing something as you read. I always think I must be a dummy because I very often don't 'get' it. I also wonder if with Japanese Literature, if something gets lost in the translation along the way. Obviuosly the mood of the book/story can be felt, but I find the words sometimes seem too 'American'; not what I would expect a Japanese person to say.

Bellezza said...

Caitlin, maybe there's something lost in the translation? That often occurs to me. I've decided, after reading Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (by Murakami) and not really understanding it as I thought I should, that the best thing to do is just "go with it." Now I read with a suspension of belief and go where the author takes me. It helps me enjoy the book better than if I dwell on every nuance.

The Holistic Knitter said...

I must try and get hold of this ;0)