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3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  4,700 ratings  ·  237 reviews
In N.P., Banana Yoshimoto’s enchanting novel of uncanny subtlety, style, magic, and mystery, a celebrated Japanese writer has committed suicide, leaving behind a collection of stories written in English. But the book, itself titled N.P., may never be published in his native Japan: each translator who takes up the ninety-eighth story chooses death too—including Kazami Kano’ ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published January 2007 by Grove Press (first published 1990)
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Norwegian Wood by Haruki MurakamiThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki MurakamiKafka on the Shore by Haruki MurakamiBattle Royale by Koushun TakamiHard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
Best Japanese Books
50th out of 448 books — 1,924 voters
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki MurakamiKafka on the Shore by Haruki MurakamiNorwegian Wood by Haruki MurakamiKitchen by Banana YoshimotoNever Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Japanese authors
18th out of 105 books — 113 voters

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Community Reviews

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I was unsure how to rate N.P., because I might have given it a better rating if I had read it at another time, in the 90s or when I was a teenager. I think maybe to me something was lost in translation - the short, matter-of-fact sentences didn't really engage me in the story or the characters. And there was a mistranslation: the word stepbrother is used when in the context of the story we see that she means half brother, as they are related by blood and have the same father.

It's always a bit s
There were a few developments in this story that threw me for a loop. In light of some strange coincidences, fate and destiny are raised by the small cast of characters, all of whom are caught in a mutual orbit that carries them through a significant series of changes in their lives. I don't know about fate, per say, but I will say that, were this kind of story to happen outside of fiction, it would rank high in terms of strange. I am glad that I did not read a plot synopsis beforehand, else I w ...more
Jun 18, 2011 Alta added it
I had read Asleep, which was very good, but N.P. is more immature. It has in commun with Asleep a dreamy atmosphere, but in N.P. this atmosphere is more contrived. The novel is made mostly of scenes that take place in enclosed spaces--dialogues between the protagonists. This is a good premise, as far as I am concerned, but the problem is that the novel doesn't live up to its premise. One has the feeling that we are supposed to be fascinated with the characters and their incestuous relationships ...more
Đọc N.P suốt 4 tiếng đồng hồ, bên tai vẫn nghe Keane hát về những điều mất mát của tuổi trẻ. Cũng như bao tác phẩm khác của Banana, N.P kể về những con người không bình thường, họ bị ám hảnh bởi cái chết, bởi tình yêu, bởi những điều của quá khứ, nhưng câu chuyện vẫn đẹp đẽ và trong trẻo đến lạ kỳ.
Cuốn sách nói rất nhiều về mùa hạ, về vẻ đẹp của nó, về bầu trời xanh màu opal, về những cơn mưa bất chợt và bầu trời đêm trong vắt đếm tận cùng, về tình yêu đối với mùa hạ cũng chẳng khác tôi là mấy.
Teenage angst and suicidal tendencies written in a scanty, simple yet elegant language.! Ü
Jess Gulbranson
Japanese girls, love quadrangles, incest, spirit mediums, and a book that makes people kill themselves... sounds like the next Takashi Miike movie.

However, it's actually the critically aclaimed book "NP" by Banana Yoshimoto. I won't go into detail about the slight but convoluted plot, but it follows the family and friends of the author of the eponymous book, a great example of the motif of harmful sensation. Translating it fully into the author's native language results in the translator's suici
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Nel 1993 ho letto Kitchen, romanzo che avevo trovato molto vacuo, al limite dell’insulso. Tuttavia, di solito, prima di dare giudizi definitivi, anche degli autori che mi sono parsi in prima battuta deludenti leggo sempre almeno un altro libro (a parte quando è evidente che sono casi senza speranza, come, ad esempio, Coelho).

Per cui, nel 1994, da brava e disciplinata lettrice, della Yoshimoto mi sono sciroppata anche questo N.P.. Considerando che, a tutt’oggi, nella mia libreria non ci sono altr
Kristi Thompson
I liked the idea of a story that drove translators -- not readers or writers -- to suicide, and the way everything was brought out at a remove, very elegantly. And the irony: a Japanese story written in Japanese and translated into English, about a Japanese story written in English that couldn't be translated into Japanese, because that would bring it too close... A clear wall of elegance and distance, but very intense things on the other side, incest and death.

I think it suffered itself in tran
Dasha H
This was a really weird book for me. I suppose it was meant to be shocking and ground-breaking but wasn't and I ended up feeling more confused than appalled or thrilled.
The story was going nowhere, it's kind of hard to retell the plot, if there was one. There was, in fact, a given situation the characters find themselves in and their different ways of dealing with it, ways of getting out of it. The characters themselves were two-dimensional, as in you can probably imagine them from the author's
Kyle Muntz
Holy hell. I'm not sure what I just read, but I loved it. Unlike Kitchen and Goodbye Tsugumi (which, in a lot of ways, were fluffy, feel-good slice of life novels), N.P. has a strong narrative--and it's an incredibly bizarre one. Incest, suicide, stories within stories; and sometimes it felt like a ghost story with no ghosts. So, it's also much darker, though like Yoshimoto's other work a lot of elements go undeveloped in a way I really appreciate, and that's sort of difficult to explain.

I couldn't put it down, but the underlying mystery of the danger at the rot of this novel (several people who have tried to translate a late writer's book have committed suicide before finishing) seems to be forgotten too quickly, then casually and inadequately explained. The untranslatable work as it's described lacks the power it is meant to have, so we again find ourselves with a book (about a life-changing book) that is itself far from memorable or compelling.
"The sentences were threadbare and somehow pathetic." (p 100)

"'I don't think you're really cut out for translation, you know that?'
'Why? Because I'm not accurate enough?'
'How can I describe it? You're weak, not really weak, but too kind. You think that you have to be faithful to the structure of the original sentences.'" (p 117)
There is a certain beauty to the simplicity of the language that she uses in the book. Her phrases are short, her scenes relatively easy to follow. Having said that, her style is not my favourite. In fact, perhaps her style of writing made the book less enjoyable for me than if it were written in a
different mood and manner.

A lot of the time, I wish she would let me know more about the characters in the story, Sui in particular. This woman is so much a mystery, even now, I wish I could have known
Francisco Alfaro Labbé
Amazing! Yoshimoto never let you down, NEVER! Really, probably this is the most personal novela that Ive read of Yoshimoto. It really touch you not only the main character wich really have to deal with a lot of her always omnipresent past; it's like a definition of History: you look at the past to understand your present.
But also, you have characters like Sui, Saki and Otohiko (specially Sui) whom become main characters in the novela through their very bizarre past.
Banana Yoshimoto features on a lot of Japanese literature recommendations lists. My theory is that these reccers just like the idea of endorsing an author whose (assumed) name is Banana. Because wow, this book was awful. College creative writing class awful, by which I mean trying really hard to be edgy, but in fact incompetent. Yoshimoto throws a lot of ingredients into the pot: suicide! Incest! Faux lesbianism! But she doesn’t do anything with any of them—just leaves them to ostentatiously sim ...more
Apr 24, 2011 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Japan enthusiasts like yours truely
Shelves: japan
I really enjoy Banana. She is very, very cool. This one was good and classic Banana. It reminded me of Goodbye Tsugumi, which I LOVE. A lot of the same type of characters. I think that of the last 10 translated Japanese books I've read, like six of them have had inscest as a major theme. What is up with that? It's handled super lightly too in almost every case. Is it for shock value? I don't really feel like that's quite it. I'll have to look into this. I don't think that I'm 100% "getting" this ...more
India Stoker
El libro me ha encantado, me ha confirmado una vez más que los japoneses tienen una manera distinta y maravillosa de ver el mundo, así como de describirlo y plasmarlo en sus libros.
Envidio su capacidad de aceptar a personas que son "diferentes", como Sui, y de saber apreciar sus virtudes por encima de sus defectos, y siempre me llama la atención como determinados temás que en otras culturas son tabú, ellos los "aceptan" con más facilidad.
El libro, aunque no cuente una historia apasionante, tiene
Read this when I was at uni, but it was one of those books I was too young (by then) to really appreciate. I was looking through my old books and wondering if I should give them a re-read when I stumbled upon my copy of this. I remember thinking Kitchen was SO much better than N.P., and I wondered if I would think the same now.

It's different, and there are definitely more risks in N.P. than in Kitchen. And because I'm totally into the Zero Escape games, I found so many topics here that appealed
Andrea Ussy
Niente da fare, queste storie pseudo-trascendenti, pseudo-evanescenti, al limite della realtà non fanno decisamente per me. Banana Yoshimoto non fà per me.
Dopo il primo approccio semipositivo di Kitchen, sono sprofondato nel baratro con Honeymoon e ancora più in profondità con questo N.P.
Volevo farmi un'idea chiara del mio parere nei confronti di questa autrice e finalmente ce l'ho: troppo triste, troppo melensa e decisamente troppo malinconica, tanto da sfociare, a tratti, persino nel comico..
I browsed someone else's review that said "I might have liked this better if I read it when I was a teenager." That seems about right to me. It was worth reading, but I don't think as affecting as "Kitchen" was. A bold premise for a book, though, that's for sure. The low-key way that the characters interact with really controversial and potentially offensive material is interesting, and I feel like in some ways my brain took those examples as things to consider when faced with a disgusting situa ...more
It's flabbergasting how a book that is chock-full of controversial themes—incest, suicide, and underage sex—could be this dull and dreadful. Upon finishing, all I could think was: What a way to torture myself!

After reading two of Yoshimoto’s books in Vietnamese and then English, I’ve come to be certain of a few things.

First, while my non-existent knowledge of Japanese doesn’t allow me to form a critique of the original writing, I can say without hesitance that most of her books suffer from tra
Linda C
A Japanese writer, Sarao Takase, wrote 98 stories in English while living in the U.S. These were collected and published under the title N.P. Since his suicide 2 authors attempted to translate them into Japanese, but each committed suicide before completing the 98th. At the beginning of this book 22 year old Kazami Kano, the narrator, is reflecting on her introduction to Takase's children 5 years earlier. Her much older boyfriend, Shoji, who is the 3rd translator to attempt the stories, makes th ...more
Sinceramente non mi ha lasciato tanto quest'opera della Yoshimoto, e lei stessa, alla fine, ha scritto nel postscriptum: "Se mi guardo indietro, l'anno e mezzo in cui ho scritto questo libro è stato per me, in molti sensi, un periodo pieno di difficoltà, eppure eccitante e felice. [...] Tutti, inclusi voi e io, abbiamo intorno a noi persone con problemi." Ecco, lei stessa mi ha tolto le parole di bocca: ho trovato difficoltà ad entrare in questa storia, davvero complicata, fatta di strane relazi ...more
Aside from Norwegian Wood this is my all time favorite book. I cant even explain how enchanting i found this story. If you are a fan of Banana and have not read this yet, read it immediately!
Sicher kein schlechtes Buch - der Schwermut der sich bei der Konklusion der Geschichte eines Sommers auch bei mir eingestellt hat, zeigt, dass die Autorin schreiben kann - aber auch sicher nicht mein Thema, Yoshimoto sagt im Nachwort selbst:
"Ein persönlicher Mikrokosmos sollte enstehen, der je nach Leser zum unmöglichen Weib, aber auch zum Engel werden kann. [...] Mit N.P. habe ich einen kuriosen, auf wenigen Charakteren und engsten städtischen Raum beschränkten Schauplatz geschaffen, in den ich
I really enjoy Banana Yoshimoto's writing style, the succinct sentences, the obvious emotions, the easy and worthwhile reading. In the afterword Yoshimoto explains that she made a point to touch on certain topics (incest, suicide, the occult), and she does so with real insight and careful use of words. Yoshimoto refuses to hide beneath the words, instead preferring to lay it all out in the open. Some hate her style of writing, but I admire its simplicity, drive, and purpose. She only wants to te ...more
Takoinche El tako :D
Bastante agradable. Lean la nota de la autora al final de la novela, te deja un final de boca muy bueno.
Ok, acepto que debí ampliar mis horizontes lectores hace tiempo.
Lo que me gustó de este libro es que la trama pasó a ser algo superficial ya que a mi parecer, el verdadero objetivo es tratar de hacer que el lector se adentre en el sentir de los personajes; es tan descriptivo en ese sentido que uno se da cuenta de todos los detalles que conforman los recuerdos y las consecuencias de cada acto realizado.
Muy buena la forma en la que escribe esta autora, un libro fácil de leer pero con una gran capa
Mi segunda incursión en la obra de la autora no ha sido tan satisfactoria como la primera. Aunque sí que es cierto que actualmente no tengo base en la que hacer una comparación bien fundada respecto a otros de sus trabajos, considero que "N.P" en cuanto al desarrollo de los personajes es bastante flojo. También el desarrollo de las relaciones entre el escaso reparto que tiene el libro me ha parecido pobre, frágil y poco creíble. Y es que en "N.P" vamos siguiendo los pasos de su protagonista de f ...more
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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).

Yoshimoto, daughter of Takaaki Yoshimoto, was born in Tokyo on July 24, 1964. 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 libera
More about Banana Yoshimoto...
Kitchen Asleep Goodbye Tsugumi The Lake Lizard

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“That's the advantage of insomnia. People who go to be early always complain that the night is too short, but for those of us who stay up all night, it can feel as long as a lifetime. You get a lot done” 335 likes
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