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Publisher's Summary

"Bananamania" has returned in an enchanting new novel of uncanny subtlety, style, magic, and mystery that Frank Ramirez of the South Bend Tribune declares is "every bit as good as Yoskimoto's first book...perhaps better".

A celebrated Japanese writer has committed suicide, leaving behind a collection of stories written in English, NP. But the book may never be published in his native Japan: Each translator who takes up the 98th story chooses death too - including Kazami Kano's boyfriend, Shoji. Haunted by Shoji's death, Kazami is inexorably drawn to three young people whose lives are intimately bound to the late writer and his work. Over the course of an astonishing summer, she will discover the truth behind the 98th story - and she will come to believe that "everything that had happened was shockingly beautiful enough to make you crazy".

©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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    4 out of 5 stars
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Interesting ... ish?

Story was on the side of melodramatic - maybe even slightly contrived to my western ears. Not sure how much of that is a 90s thing, Japanese thing, or a 90s Japanese thing. But beautiful and poetic. Sometimes hard to tell which character the narrator is narrating, but it's a good performance overall.

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Romanticises pedophilia and Incest

The female protagonist had a sexual relationship with her 24(?) year old adult boyfriend, Shoji, at the age of 17 when there was an evident imbalance in power within their relationship. The inappropriateness of this was never addressed at any point in the book, and their relationship was viewed with rose coloured glasses by both the protagonist and other people looking back on her relationship. It also depicts the incestuous relationship of two half siblings in a similar, romanticised light. This would make most readers feel mildly