Yoshimoto Bananafs name was oblivious to me before I came to Tokyo, and I first heard it amongst a novel discussion had by my colleagues. How curious I was to learn of a novel named eKitchenf, that I held on to that name for 2 years before I finally got around to buying the novel and falling in love with it. However, before reading Yoshimotofs first work, I first read another novel of less popularity– in Chinese. The novel eLizardf came as a surprise when I was shopping for a Chinese novel to read in Hong Kong. I felt challenged by the first story Newlyweds and left the novella on the shelf thereafter. Perhaps this was because of itsf Chinese translation. The fact that it flowed in a different manner to the books I had read (albeit it is but a handful), I had to read it over several times to complete the scene. This process made the novel rather unpalatable. Dissatisfied with the last, I attempted Asleep (English Version) last winter vacation to seek solace. Thereafter, I shared the novel with other friends who also thought it to be a very clever, interesting and simple read. From this experience, I realized the importance of translation and how much difference and clarity there was in the English versions. I never looked back. The charm, rhythm and calmness in her writing, the perception it shares with the reader is like a breath of fresh air. With this thought, I aim to present an overview of the certain facets of Yoshimoto Bananafs work (For example, eKitchenf, eAsleepf and eLizardf and eGoodbye Tsugumif), to which I believe has captured so many millions of fans around the world, including myself. I endeavor to write this overview covering topics such as her language, the Shojo of her stories and the relationships, Life and Death and Healing. Overview
gBanana Yoshimoto writes such beautiful, haunting, spare prose that somehow, without being ridiculous or over-the-top or Hallmark-card-esque, she can make you cry.h(2)
While a lot of writers and readers may criticize Yoshimoto Bananafs writings as being gless than mature and her style as undistinguishedh(1), many others have become attached to her way of weaving the characters together and giving the featureless individual more character through their every thought. gMostly, though, I'm thrilled to death at what her characters are thinking, and she lets us know, as she brings them to their epiphanies, exactly what road they're taking.h(3) Not only is this apparent in Lizard, as mentioned by Maureen McClaron3@@, but also in others such as Goodbye Tsugumi: For ten years I had been protected, wrapped up in something like a blanket that had been stitched together from all kinds of different things. But people never notice the warmth until after theyfve emerged. You donft even notice that youfve been inside until itfs too late for you ever to go back – thatfs how perfect the temperature of that blanket is. For me it was the ocean, the whole town, the Yamamoto family, my mother, and a father who lived far away. All this embraced me back then, ever so softly. Now Ifm having lots of fun, and Ifm really happy here in Tokyo, but every once in a while the memory of my life in that town hits me so hard that I can hardly stand it, and I start feeling sad. (pg.32) There is nothing difficult about Yoshimotofs language and, in itsf simplicity, it gives guidance to each of the characters and clarity to the direction of the story. A lot of readerfs and reviewers have recognized that Yoshimoto often writes with a female narrative in an autobiographical way. Through this method, (also known as eThe Shojof) Yoshimoto allows her readers to read with an unspoilt mind, accepting of new feelings, perspectives and perhaps even values. Ann Sherif, under A Note on Shojo1@@, addresses this topic and mentions the defining characteristics of eThe Shojof (adolescent female) by Ogura Chikako1@@:...