Banana Yoshimoto

Topics: Banana Yoshimoto, Goodbye Tsugumi Pages: 8 (3233 words) Published: September 24, 2005
YOSHIMOTO BANANA

Introduction

Yoshimoto Bananafs 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 eKitchenf, 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 Yoshimotofs first work, I first read another novel of less popularity– in Chinese. The novel eLizardf 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 itsf 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 Bananafs work (For example, eKitchenf, eAsleepf and eLizardf and eGoodbye Tsugumif), 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 Bananafs writings as being gless than mature and her style as undistinguishedh(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 theyfve emerged. You donft even notice that youfve been inside until itfs too late for you ever to go back – thatfs 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 Ifm having lots of fun, and Ifm 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 Yoshimotofs language and, in itsf simplicity, it gives guidance to each of the characters and clarity to the direction of the story. A lot of readerfs and reviewers have recognized that Yoshimoto often writes with a female narrative in an autobiographical way. Through this method, (also known as eThe Shojof) 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 Shojof (adolescent female) by Ogura Chikako1@@:...

Bibliography: 1. Japanese without Apology: Yoshimoto Banana and Healing – Ann Sherif , O˜e and Beyond: Fiction in Contemporary Japan. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press (1999)
2. Review for eGoodbye Tsugumi f – By Victoria (written 05.26.05)
http://www.happyrobot.net/reviews/default.asp?feature_id=25&id=1718
3. Lizard – Maureen McClarnon - http://www.altx.com/io/lizard.html (05.08.23)
4. An Interview with Banana Yoshimoto - http://www.bookslut.com/features/2005_08_006254.php (2005/09/01)
5. eLizard f by Yoshimoto Banana - A Review by Dave Edelman http://www.dave-edelman.com/reviews/yoshimoto.cfm (2005/08/26)
6. The Cavalier Daily – eAsleep f awakens readers with literary beauty (00.11.18) http://www.cavalierdaily.com/CVArticle.asp?ID=6635&pid=656 (2005/09/05)
7. A reflection of Japan fs cultural confusion – Book review by Geraldine Sherman http://www.geraldinesherman.com/Lizard.html (2005/08/23)
8. A reader fs journal – Review by Bobby Matherne for N.P. (2002) http://www.doyletics.com/arj/nprvw.htm (2005/08/29)
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