Sunday, December 27, 2009

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

The only word that comes to my mind after reading this book is odd. While it's most definitely very well written and original there is no denying that this book is probably the strangest book I have ever come across.

Kitchen follows a young woman, Mikage Sakurai as she struggles to adjust to life all alone when her last living relative her grandmother passes away. Mikage meets a young man at her grandmothers funeral who offer to help her in any way he can... within a short time she moves in with him ( no romantic relationship involved) and his mother. The first impression we get of the young man's mother is that she is a very beautiful, elegant and charming woman who owns and runs her own night club. The reader is later told the the mother is actually a transvestite and is in reality the boy's father. Mikage lives with them for almost a year before getting her own apartment. 6 months after moving out Mikage gets a call in the middle of the night from Yuichi ( the young man) saying that his mother/father has been brutally murdered by a man who become obsessed with her. Mikage and Yuichi now must once again adapt to living a lonely life having only each other to rely on. The story is abruptly cut off after Mikage has a revelation that no matter what happens between her and Yuichi she will never see his mother (who she has become very close to) or her grandmother again.

This book made an impression on me before I even opened it. Everything about it screams weird even the authors name, Banana. Perhaps there is some deep message behind the story that I'm missing but at the moment all I see is a depressing and strange story. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for something unique to read. However if you are into the more traditional books where the plot actually makes sense then stay away.

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