Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto よしもと ばなな

Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto (1989, 176 pages, translated by Michael Emmerich)

"No small art is it to sleep: it is necessary for that purpose to keep awake all day" - Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Japanese Literature on The Reading Life

Banana Yoshimoto (1964, Tokyo) is one of my favorite contemporary writers.    I have her on my read everything that has been translated list.   I think either her Kitchen (her most popular work among book bloggers) or Goodbye Tsugumi (my personal favorite) would be a good first Japanese novel.  

Asleep consists of three long short stories about young women in love with sleeping and confused about their lives.

Like many of her works, death is at the center of these pieces.    All are unconventional love stories.    One story involves the central character's relationship with a now dead woman with whom she once lived.    The deceased woman had an unconventional job that she admits is kind of like being a prostitute.   She sleeps with people for money but she does not have sex with them and they do not want it from her.    All the people want is not to be alone and have the illusion that someone cares about them.  

All the stories are very interesting and emotionally involving.   Sometimes a good nights sleep can solve a lot of problems.  

Please share with us your experience with Banana Yoshimoto.

Mel u


Suko said...

Mel, I have not read this one. Nice, concise review. Did you link this to the JLC?

Mel u said...

Suko-these are beautiful stories-yes Linked it to the JLC

Bellezza said...

I love stories that are "emotionally involving". I think that Banana Yoshimoto is especially adept in that realm. Although I own this book, I have not yet read it. Perhaps in the Winter when I can more readily indulge in a nap?

me. said...

I've got a copy of The Lake to read soon, I've not read any Banana Yoshimoto in a while so it'll be great to return to one her novels - thanks for the post!.

Li said...

Huh, this is really interesting, since I'm in the process of reading a book by Yasunari Kawabata which has a similar premise of "prostitutes", but only sleeping next to them. I think this would make a lovely companion book to the one I'm reading (It translates to House of the Sleeping Beauties; and Other stories in English, have you read it?). Will definitely put this on my to-read list. =D

@parridhlantern said...

I've got Kitchen on my shelf, have not yet read it, but she's on my list.

JoAnn said...

Yoshimoto is such a talented writer! I loved her style in Kitchen and have Good-bye Tsugumi on my shelf. Asleep sounds like one I would enjoy, too.