Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Review - Banana Yoshimoto's THE LAKE



This was a win for me from Sakura of Chasing Bawa and one which I looked forward to immensely. My reading of Japanese authors has been rather limited and having heard great reviews of this book I awaited it very eagerly.


For me the book was not an easy read, despite a delightful font (a pet grouse of mine!) and a short book. Chihiro has lost her mother after a prolonged illness and is a bit estranged from her father. Her relationship with Nobu who comes with a chequered past is intriguing. Are they in love or are they just comfortable with each other. Has Chihiro drifted into the relationship because of the lack of any other focus in her life and is Nobu selfish in wanting to cling to someone because he is generally not good with people.


This was my first read of a Yoshimoto novel so I have nothing to compare her writing with. The characters seem to deal with past issues more than with the present. The past is so complex that it colors their whole present and makes progress rather difficult. The story attempts to move from darkness to light - from past traumatic histories to a more pleasant, lighter future.


The appearance of the lake, the mystery surrounding it, the two characters which occupy the house which Nobu had lived in added to the mystery which I did not understand very well. Neither could I connect it to the main story very well. It seemed a bit far fetched to me at this point.


I hope I do get to Yoshimoto's earlier novels later on as they have been huge successes. This one was not for me.



10 comments:

mel u said...

I like all of Yoshimoto's work-the most popular is Kitchen-my personal favorite is Goodbye Tsugumi-

chasingbawa said...

I think this book had a lot of mixed reactions which is always interesting. I'm still glad you read it, but I think it helps if you know a little bit about the connection with the cults (especially the Aum Shinrikyo in Japan).

Harvee said...

Japanese novels are not always easy to read but they are quite unique from a Western perspective!

Sam said...

I have not read any Japanese fiction. I think I would probably start with her earlier books.

Audra said...

I've seen a few reviewers who say this book left them a bit cold, even though it was well-written -- I've got it in my review queue for someday soon.

Cheryl said...

This sounds like it would be a hard book to read. You did a good review of it though!

Lisa said...

I've been meaning to read some Yoshimoto but it sounds like this won't be the one!

Anna said...

I haven't read this author yet, but I've been wanting to. Maybe I'll try a different book first.

Kaye said...

The two people at the lake seemed far fetched alright. I thought the sister was downright weird and totally unbelievable. The good thing about this book is that it is short.

Teddyree said...

Sorry this one was a bit of a disappointment, I'm yet to try the author but I have heard good things.