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Publisher's Summary

The New York Daily News has called Asleep "enchanting, surreal...Yoshimoto brings readers to another powerful, atmospheric place". Demonstrating again the artful simplicity and depth of her vision, Banana Yoshimoto reestablishes her place as a writer of international stature in a book that may be her most delightful since Kitchen.

In Asleep, Yoshimoto spins the stories of three young women bewitched into a spiritual sleep. One, mourning for a lost lover, finds herself sleepwalking at night. Another, who has embarked on a relationship with a man whose wife is in a coma, finds herself suddenly unable to stay awake. A third finds her sleep haunted by a woman against whom she was once pitted in a love triangle.

Sly and mystical as a ghost story, with a touch of Kafkaesque surrealism, Asleep is an enchanting new book from one of the best writers in contemporary international fiction.

©1988 Banana Yoshimoto. English translation Fukutake Publishing Co., Ltd., through the Japan Foreign-Rights Centre. Translation 1993 by Megan Backus. (P)2015 Audible Inc.

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What listeners say about Asleep

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Dreamy and Terrible Unawareness

Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto is a set of three short stories. I liked the overall concept of this book. It is an exploration of women and how their relationships and ambitions (or lack thereof) impact the overall quality of their lives. The events and characters are revealed slowly in all three stories to great effect. The narration performance by Emily Zeller is outstanding and it adds tremendously to the enjoyment of this material. The overall quality of the writing is very good. However, Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto did not meet my expectations. For me, the first two stories were similar enough that they might've been stronger if the author had combined them and written an entire novel that pursued and fully developed the integrated story. The third story contains a lot of interesting ideas but it loses focus and meanders to a moderate conclusion. I would love to see this book made into a limited TV series. I plan to read more from this talented author. I would recommend this book to aspiring writers.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Gorgeous book about loss.

Gorgeous book. If you're looking for Japanese magical realism that isn't Murikami, say hello to Banana Yoshimoto. I liked it better than Kitchen.

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I kept waiting

I was waiting for something to happen for quiet some time in, oh well, I waited until the end, it was some nice waiting. It feels like suspense, but not quite, all the time I expected something pretty drastic to happen to the story, creating this feeling with a whole book is quite the talent.

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Simply, awful

I finished everything, well almost everything - I didn’t finish this. Drivel. A too obvious, failed attempt to spin something dark, serious, deep.

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  • Anna
  • 09-16-21

Interesting read!

Loved the stories, it's set up as four chapters, each telling a different story of a woman and some kind of weird connection she has with sleep.
Portrays daily japanese life beautifully which I enjoy.