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

Monday, September 10, 2018

Moshi Moshi by Banana Yoshimoto - 2016. - translated from Japanese by Asa Yoneda

Banana Yoshimoto on The Reading Life

My thanks to Max u for The Amazon Card that let me read Moshi Moshi

Moshi Moshi by Banana Yoshimoto, 2016,translated by Asa Yoneda

Goodbye Tsugumi was the first book by Banana Yoshimoto i read. (I posted upon it on August 16, 2009). I went on to read three more of her novels, Kitchen, Lake, and Asleep as well as several of her shorter works.  Obviously i hold her in high esteem.

Moshi Moshi (used as a greeting  when answering the telephone, roughly translated as “Hello, I can talk now”, is Yoshimoto’s most recent novel.  ( As of today the Kindle edition is fairly priced at $3.95.)  

The story line revolves around a woman, maybe 21, as does much of Yoshimoto’s work, and her mother.  The woman’s father, a well known musician, and husband of her mother, has recently committed suicide.  There is a dark mystery involved in that he committed suicide jointly with a woman.  The plot centers on the efforts of the daughter and wife to try to understand why he killed himself.  They skowly learn about the woman.  We are given slices of insight into the marriage as well as the father and daughter relationship.

Shortly after father dies the daughter moves out of family condo, the father left a bit of money, into her own place in a kind of Bohemian area of Tokyo.  She gets a job in a bistro, there are lots of descriptions of foods to whet appetites.  

There are several interesting turns in plot, mother and daughter both evolve as they cope with the emotionally devasting suicide.  The characters are very well developed, the conversations ring true.  We get a feel for life at the bistro.

Moshi Moshi was a pleasure to read.  Yoshimoto is a very talented writer.  

Banana Yoshimoto (よしもと ばなな or 吉本 ばなな) is the pen name of Mahoko Yoshimoto (吉本 真秀子), a Japanese contemporary writer. She writes her name in hiragana. (See also 吉本芭娜娜 (Chinese).)

Along with having a famous father, poet Takaaki Yoshimoto, Banana's sister, Haruno Yoiko, is a well-known cartoonist in Japan. Growing up in a liberal family, she learned the value of independence from a young age.

She graduated from Nihon University's Art College, majoring in Literature. During that time, she took the pseudonym "Banana" after her love of banana flowers, a name she recognizes as both "cute" and "purposefully androgynous."

Despite her success, Yoshimoto remains a down-to-earth and obscure figure. Whenever she appears in public she eschews make-up and dresses simply. She keeps her personal life guarded, and reveals little about her certified Rolfing practitioner, Hiroyoshi Tahata and son (born in 2003). Instead, she talks about her writing. Each day she takes half an hour to write at her computer, and she says, "I tend to feel guilty because I write these stories almost for fun." - from Goodreads 


Buried In Print said...

I like how she handles the veil between the worlds, how quickly characters and memories slip between spaces. She is one of my Must Read Everything writers and I am really looking forward to this one (the last, I think, available to me in translation - time to learn Japanese?!).

Mel u said...

Buried in Print. She is a very subtle characterizer. I think it Is her Last translated work.