Banana Yoshimoto's novels have touched me in so many ways. Her lucid, subtle and disarming writing style is a work of art. She is a tour de force in contemporary fiction. I have waited a long time for the release of Asleep, and I am not disappointed.
The three novellas in Asleep are earnest, sensuous, eccentric, and extremely surreal. The three female characters in the book are bewitched into a spiritual and magical sleep. In Night and Night's Travelers, the first story, a woman finds herself sleepwalking at night. In Love Song, a woman's sleep is haunted by a rival whom she once competed with in a love triangle. And in Asleep, a woman loses her best friend to suicide. Also, she is having an affair with a man whose wife is in a coma. Things take a strange turn when she finds herself suddenly unable to stay awake. The stories are very ambiguous; you have to pay attention to every detail in order to grasp their meaning. The magical realism in the stories is as mystical as a ghost story and the language is deceptively simple -- it is meant to play with the reader's mind.
I am awed by this incredible piece of fiction. The stories are very well done and interestingly nuance. This is her most creative work since Kitchen and her best collection of stories since Lizard. Powerful and spooky, Asleep will capture your heart. I strongly urge you to read this one!