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Publisher's Summary

With the publication of Kitchen, the dazzling English-language debut that is still her best-loved book, the literary world realized that Yoshimoto was a young writer of enduring talent whose work has quickly earned a place among the best of contemporary Japanese literature. Kitchen is an enchantingly original book that juxtaposes two tales about mothers, love, tragedy, and the power of the kitchen and home in the lives of a pair of free-spirited young women in contemporary Japan. Mikage, the heroine, is an orphan raised by her grandmother, who has passed away. Grieving, Mikage is taken in by her friend, Yoichi, and his mother (who is really his cross-dressing father), Eriko. As the three of them form an improvised family that soon weathers its own tragic losses, Yoshimoto spins a lovely, evocative tale with the kitchen and the comforts of home at its heart.

In a whimsical style that recalls the early Marguerite Duras, Kitchen and its companion story, Moonlight Shadow, are elegant tales whose seeming simplicity is the ruse of a very special writer whose voice echoes in the mind and the soul.

©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 Kitchen

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First Time is the Charm

I've been interested in Banana Yoshimoto for a long time, but had mostly read male Japanese authors. I bought this a while ago and finally listened to it on my Summer Reading Around the World. The Japanese are known for novellas and short stories and this is 2 stories in 1 volume. There was a lot of loss and more beauty. There was humor and perfect descriptions. It's fairly typical of Japanese literature to combine disparate elements. I definitely will be putting more of her books on my wish list. I just wish I hadn't waited so long.

3 people found this helpful

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beautiful story, could have been twice as long

very easy reading, genuinely interesting characters, I was surprised at how quick it was over.

1 person found this helpful

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Two Stories

I didn’t realize this when I bought it, but this version includes 2 separate stories. Both were about love and loss, although of a different nature. I enjoyed both books; the writing was concise yet tells a complete story.

1 person found this helpful

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Really quick read.

It was a really quick read. Didn't beat around the bush or have a slow start. It went straight to the warmth and love you receive after a death in the family and also how they dealt with loss. In both stories the protagonist slowly found their own way of dealing with death. It makes you feel somewhat relieved yet hopefully knowing that everyone goes through it differently. Loved this book!

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Short and sweet book, not the best audio performance

Book was short and sweet but I didn’t like this audiobook and the performance of the narrator. Book was in first person and the voice didn’t feel true to the character and it was kind of robotic and monotonous for the most part.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-04-20

A story about loss and healing through another

I personally liked it, there are moments that resonate with me, though there are also handful that plot-wise could do better. Fairly easy to get into, and I think Zeller did a good job narrating it. I'd recommend it if you'd like to get into contemporary Japanese literature