Il lago by Banana Yoshimoto By Banana Yoshimoto

Chihiro ha perso da poco la madre e sta cercando di rifarsi una vita a Tokyo, lontano dalla cittadina di provincia a cui la legano brutti ricordi. Nakajima è tormentato da un passato misterioso che gli impedisce di vivere fino in fondo i propri sentimenti. Mino e Chii vivono in una casa nei pressi di un lago, un luogo fuori dal tempo e dallo spazio. Il lago è uno dei migliori e più sorprendenti romanzi di Banana Yoshimoto, poetico e inquietante, racconta una storia d’amore inusuale, dove il bisogno di affetto e comprensione diventano più importanti dei tradizionali cliché di una relazione.

Il lago è un viaggio nella memoria fino alle origini delle paure, la storia di due giovani alle prese con la più difficile delle prove: scoprirsi innamorati. Il lago by Banana Yoshimoto

Banana Yoshimoto ç 5 Read & Download

ام م خیلی خوب بود
جملات خیلی خوبی تو کتاب بود که من بعضی هاضو توییت کردم 😊
ادبیات اسیای شرق و بیان احساساتشون خیلی به ما نزدیکه و شاید برای اینه که بیشتر کتابای اسیای شرق و دوست دارم
اگه ۵ ستاره ندادم به خاطر اخر داستان بود

‏... فقط می خواستم حس کنم تو این شهر یه نفر از وجود من باخبره ! Italian After reading Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto, I started reading her short stories, but didn't find enything that could be compared to Kitchen. However, The Lake is straight up that alley. Although, at first, I've found the main character childish and selfish, slowly her real character was revealed and she became more likable. Her boyfriend was a complicated character too and it was interesting to follow the main character's path to discover the reason's why he became who he was. Also, the story had a nice, reassuring message that people can heal other people and that none is perfect, on the contrary, we all have imperfections and we are broken one way or another. There were some odd moments in the story, like Chii and her brother, but the characters came in terms with it and somehow it didn't feel important to try to understand it any further.

So, overall, quick pace, lovely writing, realistic characters and a heartwarming, but tragic, story. Italian Dopo un promettente esordio coi primi due libri, la produzione letteraria di Banana Yoshimoto mi aveva alquanto deluso : alla quantità delle opere pubblicate non corrispondeva affatto una dignitosa qualità.
Ora il recente romanzo Il lago rappresenta invece una gradita sorpresa.
Questo libro s'inserisce nella ricca tradizione della Letteratura giapponese soprattutto per la leggerezza della scrittura e per la rappresentazione quasi zen della natura e del paesaggio come luogo essenzialmente da contemplare : la superficie del lago era increspata da piccole onde e, con la fioritura dei ciliegi intorno, sarebbe poi stato coperto da un velo rosa.
Tanta lievità si riverbera anche sull'approccio esistenziale, come rispecchiamento dell'essenzialità della cultura nipponica : era così bello da somigliare alla tristezza. Alla sensazione che si prova quando ci si rende conto che (...) il tempo che ci è concesso su questa terra non è poi così lungo : la caducità della bellezza che porta a contemplare l'attimo come unico e non ripetibile. Approccio lontanissimo dalle bramosie del consumismo occidentale ; anzi, con animo di pacata e distesa armonia, come riflesso di una dimensione cosmica.

Protagonisti sono una ragazza trentenne, artista pittrice di murales, e un giovane ricercatore in medicina. Si tratta di individui che portano ferite interiori (in lui, profondissime), uniti da un fragile sentimento, tanto prezioso quanto non omologato agli stereotipi diffusi. Fra gli altri personaggi, i due amici della casa davanti al lago, che custodivano con discrezione (...) la modestia e la grazia, in totale armonia con l'essenza del luogo, tanto da costituire una realtà di riferimento, semplice e altamente simbolica.

La nostra Autrice è molto brava nel cogliere l'indeterminatezza dei frammenti d'ignoto che qua e là emergono; a riannodare esili fili spezzati dell'esistenza; a captare il dettaglio che apre spiragli sulla complessità umana. Non lo è, però, altrettanto nel raccontare fatti, avvenimenti, azioni. Ma questi, lo sappiamo, formano solamente poco più che la superficie delle cose : non costituiscono tutta la realtà; non la parte più interessante. Italian

Most people are constantly perpetrating little acts of violence on others, even when they don't mean to.
The majority of the population of the world has an extremely ignorant conception of what they are entitled to expect from others. Those who don't understand why members of certain minority groups are so political, others who think they envy those who can use the handicapped parking, those loud individuals who think needing trigger warnings is something to be ashamed about. It'd be less of an issue if the childhood indoctrination, the PTSD from rape, the neurodivergence and the wheelchair and the cross burning on the lawn weren't such fuel for fodder for tropes of popular fiction. Trauma is acceptable only if it has an expiration date, the assurance of a final conclusion, or makes the individual a superhero or a serial killer. No one, judging from common complaints about Beloved, wants to read about healing.
Recognizing how totally ignorant you are is the only honest way to deal with people who've been through something traumatic.
Quit fooling yourself. Empathy's a biological organ like anything else, and taking the usual society-sanctioned route of lying and confining and denying will make it weak and filled with poison. So you watch TV shows filled with the offspring of murdered parents and the survivors of various cults. Big whoop. Do you ever look around your world of normality and realize what a nightmare it has been for certain segments of the population for centuries on? Do you ever take for granted that the lives in which you'd kill yourself in are still going, still breathing, still weighing the adaptations of the past against the changes of the future, still persisting for all your incomprehension and disbelief? This isn't about your pity, or your charity, or whatever you call spending more than five minutes of thought on what others must survive until they don't. This is about recognition that those voices of affirmative action are not new, but are simply less likely in this day and age to be suffocated at birth. This is about acknowledging how trauma is not a single event, but under various circumstances may be continually inflicted on those who, due to birth or growth or unfortunate experience, do not fit. This is for those who you wish would just lay down and die because you wouldn't have to be so uncomfortable thinking about them.
People look so beautiful when their expressions show that they know they have a future.
Nothing happens if someone refrains from killing themselves. That's how life is. You don't get a prize for winning a lawsuit against a college campus for being structurally hostile to physically disabled students, or finding a method by which to fit your particular set of survival skills to capitalism, or evaluating day by day what needs to be done to make that length of rope all the less appealing. If you're lucky enough to have found a support group, or someone willing to ignore all the stereotypes of age and adulthood in order to hold your hand, great. More often than not, though, people will ignore you or give you shit for making such a fuss about requiring an individually/communally tailored breed of health that is not automatically allotted to those who cannot fend in the most able manner for themselves. You think there's anything to it other than luck and the technology that has granted my generation with the ever present label of lazy? You think you can throw words around like trauma and surmounted and inspiration around and then do nothing when your sensationalist entertainment starts bleeding into the personal physical plain of the words you use and the stereotypes you enforce and the murders you sanction? You and everyone else, apparently, so be satisfied that there's strength in going along with the crowd.
Thanks so much for seeing, the first time you met us, that even though we're like ghosts, the two of us, even though we're not supposed to exist, we are alive.
There are people who find themselves living in a world that only wants them in the movies and the mystery novels and the darker entries of Wikipedia. As a rare pop cultural reference from me, I found two of the characters to much resemble those from Akira, a comic turned cartoon dealing with psychics, science, and intergenerational trauma. The difference, of course, was this work didn't expect them to have super powers, or fight in action conspiracies, or complete anything other than the simple day to day tasks required of those who want to live in a house, eat food, and drink tea. So, yes. Nothing much happens in this. Those who have excitement inflicted upon them because of their bodies and minds don't have any interest in more of it.
Italian | | blog | tumblr | ko-fi | |

2 ½ stars

The Lake is narrated by the quintessential Banana Yoshimoto protagonist. While Yoshimoto's sparse yet dreamy makes for an easy reading experience this is definitely not one of her ‘strongest’ novels.
Chihiro, daughter of an 'unconventional' couple, moves to Tokyo in order to pursue a career graphic artist. She's still grieving her mother's death and spends most of her time on her own. One day, as she is staring out of her window, she sees a young man staring back from a window across the street. The two quickly form a bond and begin to spend their spare time together. Nakajima, who has also lost his mother, is somewhat unwilling to discuss his past with Chihiro and when their relationship becomes more of a romance it becomes clear to her that he must have experience some childhood trauma.
This short novel is definitely not plot-oriented as the narrative mainly consists in Chihiro either navel-gazing or pronouncing two-bit aphorisms.
While Yoshimoto does evoke the places and sensations Chihiro visits/experiences, The Lake lacked the atmosphere and feeling of Kitchen an Umi no Futa (which I believe has yet to be translated in English). And whereas I usually enjoy how nostalgic ambience of her work, The Lake just came across as dated. Chihiro seems almost to relish the idea that Nakajima may be deeply traumatised and we also have a side-character who is affected by a mysterious illness and bed bound yet she is also omniscient and able to speak through others...
Overall, this was definitely one of Yoshimoto's more banal stories as it lacked that vital zing which usually makes her books such zesty reads. Italian

A mundane but interesting story to read.

Living in her pages when reading this book.

Feeling that I was enveloped in the environment that the author describes.

Banana Yoshimoto's writings can make you will easily be engaged with the story.
Italian (review #9 for CCLaP!)


I didn't, luckily, so I was able to experience it as written, as a slow build, a soft, sad, slight mystery, with all the hidden things left hidden, or at least obscured, until they were meant to be revealed. I can't believe Melville House wasn't smart enough to realize that you can't give away the big twist in huge blue letters right there at the top of the blurb. What a massive disservice to Banana.

Ah, Banana. I've loved her for a long time, in a way that acts like a grounding foundation, so even when her books fall short for me, I am confident in her greatness, and I forgive. I've always been strongly drawn to her. I find her very accessible, very human, in a way that someone like, say, Murakami is decidedly not. He and Banana work with many of the same themes--like aching loneliness, and the This Side / The Other Side dichotomy, with things and people slipping softly between the two, and music and its power, and time and its betrayals, and the loss of self through occultish means, and fog and darkness and loss and despair. But with Murakami everything is so crisp and smooth and careful, it's on a higher plane, an untouchable one. Banana is more halting, less sure of herself; she lurches a little in her phrasing, makes slight plot missteps, falters and contradicts with her characters.

That may sound like I'm describing an amateur, but that's not what I mean. Even though she's not quite as polished--which could easily be because she doesn't command as good a translator, or as experienced an editor--her books have an incredibly strong feel to them that overcomes all these quibbles. They're all suffused with such melancholy, such aching sadness. They're so soft, so plangent, that it carries me above the mild awkwardnesses and inconsistencies, it makes me forget about critical reading, and just sucks me down into the experience of the read.

So I guess I should talk about this book, right? It's not so heavy on plot, and I've already told you about the back-cover spoiler, so I don't want to delve too deeply. It's a character-driven book, mostly about Chihiro, her parents (one of whom is dead), and Nakajima, the man she's falling for. Chihiro and Nakajima are both a little strange--the back cover says quirky, which I think is overstating and twee-ing it--but it's nice to watch them together. He's in pre-med, and she's a painter. They both have complicated, unresolved issues with their parents and with their pasts. They cook together, she gets commissioned to paint a mural on the side of a school, he tries to decide whether to go to med school in Paris. There is a lot of conversation, and a lot of them being quiet together. Things get weirder, but I'm not telling you how.

So. It's a quiet book that hazes into somewhat chilling territory eventually. It's intensely sorrowful sometimes, and light and sweet at others. It's short, and even if it weren't, Banana's terse, mostly unfrilled style would fly you through it. There are some missteps, some inconsistencies, some lurchings, some awkwardness, but it's definitely worth reading, especially if you're already a Banana devotee. Although if you've never read her before, I might start with Asleep, or Goodbye Tsugumi.


OMG you guys, guess fucking what. I woke up this morning to this email:

We have a bunch of gallies for Banana Yoshimoto's new book The Lake. Want to read one?

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy shit !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Italian Life is merciless, it can bring random injustice upon us, sucking out our last breath of willpower, inflicting insurmountable damage. But sometimes it is also capricious and chooses to give hope to the hopeless, eyesight to the blind, atonement for the victims.
Chihiro and Nakajima cross paths on an unremarkable day when looking out of their respective windows they find their glances colliding with each other. They start engaging in silent, hesitant conversations, full of dubious smiles, nods and certain slants of heads, which shed a flimsy light on their darknesses; a smooth lake the only obstacle between their two wretched lives.
Haunted by a traumatic experience, Nakajima shies away from crowds and creates a safe haven buried in himself where no one can’t hurt him.
Chihiro, still grieving for the loss of her mother, opens her door to Nakajima and, without pressure, offers an unreserved hand, full of possibilities.
Odds stacked against them, Chihiro and Nakajima start dancing together not minding about the steps but following their instinctive rhythm, threading a new path without pretensions.

Reading The Lake produced waves of rippling sensations to me.
Like when you bury your feet in cool and silky sand.
Or when a fragile and timid sunbeam leaks through an overcasted sky, briefly warming your chilly face.
Or when you hear a flawless tuned up violin playing a soft melody.
But I expected this short tale to transport me to a place where time and space wouldn’t exist.
Like when you open your arms and feel eternal, surrounded by sky and sea.
Or when you witness the magic moment of seeing a shooting star splashing out golden color in the night made of grey and dark blue.
Or when you are unwittingly swept away, out of your senses, by the sheer beauty of a heartfelt interpretation of some piece of music. (Like Chopin’s Nocturne Op.9 nº1 ).

Pleasant but not moving.
It’s not that I didn’t like the story, it is just that it failed to touch me. I had the impression that Yoshimoto tried very hard to create a mystical, otherworldy atmosphere with poetic, even beautiful and delicate imagery. And she did. Her descriptions are deceptively simple yet charged with spiritualism. But even if I was willing to be spellbound, the magic didn’t work out for the characters. My heart wasn’t with them, no spark of recognition, their crispy dialogues seemed trivial, lacking any emotional intensity. Their supposed unconventionality wasn’t convincing and remained merely on the surface, giving no wings to my imagination. Not like Mishima’s The Sound of Waves or Baricco’s Silk.

No footprint, not even a watermark left after I closed the last page of this tale.
Just a fleeting already fading remembrance of a butterfly kiss.
Italian It has been years since a new Banana Yoshimoto has been in my hands- 2006! Yeah, so I became a fan in 2004 and read all of her translated works in a couple of months. Back to back like snug little bookends. I was so happy reading her books and living in those pages. I feel the most at ease with the world and myself in that world when I'm completely into books. The best are those that I'm so into that I forget to talk to anyone at all. If I can keep going I never have to look down and remember I'm afraid of heights kinda thing. (Kitchen and Goodbye, Tsgumi are my favorites. Lizard wasn't as good.) What makes Banana Yoshimoto so special?

I'm going to try and do this first based on the readers advisory appeal factors. (I said try! Yoda doesn't know what he's talking about. There is so a try.) [I'm pretty sucky at ra and it wouldn't have occured to me to say any of this stuff if I wasn't trying to think about what others like. I've never even asked a librarian for assistance! I did have one that looked like Stevie Nicks during her fat country phase in the 1980s, though. I wanted to ask her if she was Stevie Nicks.)

Pace: Relaxed pace
Tone: Atmospheric, bittersweet, darkly humorous, feel-good, haunting, melancholy, moving, nostalgic, offbeat, reflective, romantic, strong sense of place, thought provoking, upbeat.
Writing style: Conversational

One person's any of that (romantic or humorous) stuff might not be my stuff of that? It IS really personal... How do I get personal without getting touchy feely sounding? Yoshimoto can do it. She can be feel-good, and eyes open wide, or young again positions, sad (PERSONAL sad. How do you feel? I'm sad. I've been sad before too. like it doesn't have to be the same flavor sad to get it) and believable. I feel good reading her because the feelings are natural, fact of life stuff that I can believe because no one is pounding on the floor My life is over!!! histrionics. If she says it is going to be okay that is how it is going to be. Like life can really fucking suck sometimes and it doesn't mean it is always that way. Yoshimoto isn't going to pull a fast one on me and make shit happen just because. To me that's relaxed pace. You know how some books you get that good feeling from right at the start because of the way the writer tells you things? It reminds me of being a kid and finding the rare adult that didn't talk down to me.
My nostalgia and romantic are what the character Nakajima in The Lake means when he says that Chihiro doesn't inflict emotional violence on other people (not that she can help, anyway). Hell, I trust Banana Yoshimoto. That's my time, place, texture, thought provoking and emotional well-being. Is it anyone else's too?

I remember being impressed by one of Yoshimoto's blog entries in 2004 about John Frusciante (one of my musical heroes. I could go into more detail and get hysterical about it. Hero! That's understated. He writes a lot about regret and time passing). She wrote that she felt like he could be related to her. That is exactly it! I probably cried out loud. I think I loved Yoshimoto ten times more just for saying that.

Have you ever noticed that family members will have the same facial expressions? Do you ever catch yourself imitating the mannerisms of someone you've recently spent a lot of time with, even? (After seeing my brother I would roll my eyes towards the ceiling a lot. This is not a usual thing of mine.) The gestures that make a mother and daughter look more like mother than daughter than even sharing hair color and features? Eyes straight ahead to the people around you and looking to see if they are all right...

I feel like Banana Yoshimoto could be related to me sometimes. There was a part in Goodbye, Tsgumi that I loved so much. When the narrator sees the world as magic through the hot daze of her fever. I've known that feeling too. The yearning for the bright kitchen and spending time with loved ones like in Kitchen. The happiest times there could be.

If only I could read Japanese. Am I going to wish for this in every review I'm writing these days? Yes. Why wasn't I born with languages? It'd be like being able to play music (I cannot do that either). I'm good at studying facial expressions (that's not to say I understand them. I'm good at watching for them. It probably comes from being shy). I don't know the language that everyone has in their body language (it probably isn't the international language of love as said by the neighbor lady in the '80s film Better Off Dead). I'll try it on my own face to see what I'd mean. I'll try the gestures too. I know that gestures mean different things in different cultures (bowing in Japan or taking a bow on stage in the Western world. Wayne and Garth's we're not worthy. So many bows to know). So being related means to me picking up the same gestures, the inbetween spaces between bodies, the unsaid spaces. John Frusciante asked when recording the Red Hot Chili Peppers album (I'm actually not really an RHCP fan) Blood Sugar Sex Magik if anyone else could see the ghosts on the music. Maybe I'm hopeless as an RA more than ever now, but I couldn't help but connect that to this book. Ghosts like something big is happening in the emotional way that is too big to go away with the next setting sun. Yeah, that.

Chihiro sees the ghosts. Not literal ghosts like Caspar. She sees the ghosts of emotional spaces and projected inbetween lives of those who are haunted by their pasts to the point where they cannot cross it to join anyone else in the world that goes on every day.

Chihiro's mom has died. Her mother, a bar owner, was a fragile flower kept inside a flashier bottle of herself because she was afraid not to be what it seemed others wanted her to be. Her father stayed with them when he could without upsetting his disapproving family. They willingly existed inside another bottle within the world. Like someone who nurtures a crush because they don't want to ruin the dream in favor of reality of being together. The unreality was unnatural for a young girl to grow up in. The bar of mom's is twilight all is forgiven atmosphere. It may be the fantasy that the paid patrons required but... Sting's Message in a Bottle would say: Help! Your daughter is being poked by the disapproving village as a fish in a bowl. How does that make you feel? the therapist asks. I don't know! Hmm. Interesting. Scratching on a clipboard. Is any of that anything you can take to sleep with you at the end of the night? Learn to ignore yourself, put on what others need you to be... Force it. Happy face. (Clowns cry!) Chihiro gets out as soon as she can, determined never to be corked in again. Denying herself the same as her mama did, all the same. The location wasn't the point, after all. Relatives not flesh and blood but being related as made of your emotional flesh and blood. What happens to you if you are not tied to anyone?

The window is lovely when her neighbor across the street, Nakajima, is standing in it. Not too far. Not too close. The light to look for and hold on... More dreaming?

I wish I knew Japanese! Donald Richie said that the Japanese language can express what is unsaid. I want that so bad. If I cannot see the spaces between the bodies...

The translator, Michael Emmerich, is Yoshimoto's usual translator. I consider him to be like a seeing-eye dog for the blind (me). Sometimes Fido bumps me into stuff. I wish that the conversational style left more unsaid and let me see what it looked like between their bodies. Was it sad? Was it lonely, or cold, hopeful, consoling? But I guess it made sense for Chihiro who talks herself into too much to feel her way around that way. We all need seeing-eye dogs sometimes.

I did like Chihiro very much. She's a sympathetic person, for all that she was afraid to be needed or relied on. Nakajima's dark past was hard, as it should be. I would not have been able to believe in his future if it were not for how sympathetic Chihiro was in that honest way that sees the ghosts in the world even as it keeps turning. Yoshimoto is the best. I bet she pays attention all of the time and sees and hears the ghosts.

I should ask librarians for advice more often. From a libra (that's me) to a librarian. I found out about Yoshimoto after reading all of the Haruki Murakami's out at the time back to back. I'm currently reading almost exclusively Japanese authors. It must be the unexpressed. I think so much in a feeling around in the dark (need those seeing-eye dogs) kinda way that must be a yearning for that Japanese unexpressed between the lines meanings. Italian It’s hard to summarize this novella-length story without giving too much away. In fact, I’d recommend against reading the marketing copy, since it spoils the one and only surprise in the book. It’s best described as a stilted and intensely awkward meet-cute, I guess. Introspective young woman notices odd neighbor, and almost despite herself, begins to reach out to him and draw him out of his shell. They begin a fragile romance as she gets closer to the truth of his ethereal weirdness, and both of them have to reconcile the baggage from their respective pasts if they have any chance of holding on to what begins to bloom between them.

That’s it, really. Lots of walking, lots of monologues, and lots of narrative exposition on the nature of people and relationships. This is very much a thinking person’s book (or, to put it less kindly, a navel-gazing session), and it fits within a defined subgenre of literary fiction that almost eschews plot in favor of evocative, poetic ruminations on the human condition, and how deep and interesting it is to be sad all the time. It definitely has the hallmark style of Japanese fiction, as well- the writing, while occasionally clumsy through the lens of a Western perspective, is consistently elegant, and often beautiful. There are some choice observations in the book that are eminently quotable.

I couldn’t get into it, though. I don’t know, maybe I’m forever ruined by a lifetime of comic books and genre fiction, but I don’t have much patience for this kind of aimless meandering in the stories I read. This isn’t a bad book by any definition of the word; it’s quite good, and short enough that none of its earnest heaviness is lost on the reader. But it’s also extremely slow, and has no character arcs to speak of. I was pleasantly diverted, but I can’t think of anything enthusiastic to say about it, other than that the prose itself was occasionally brilliant.

This is a good one if you’re in a self-reflective sort of mood, but it doesn’t do much in the way of escapism. Italian