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The Lake

3.48  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,718 Ratings  ·  584 Reviews
A major literary sensation is back with a quietly stunning tour de force.

While The Lake shows off many of the features that have made Banana Yoshimoto famous—a cast of vivid and quirky characters, simple yet nuanced prose, a tight plot with an upbeat pace—it’s also one of the most darkly mysterious books she’s ever written.
It tells the tale of a young woman who moves to T
Hardcover, 188 pages
Published May 3rd 2011 by Melville House (first published December 1st 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 17, 2011 Mariel rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: you'd never cry to them just to your soul
Recommended to Mariel by: big in Japan
It has been years since a new Banana Yoshimoto has been in my hands- 2006! Yeah, so I became a fan in 2004 and read all of her translated works in a couple of months. Back to back like snug little bookends. I was so happy reading her books and living in those pages. I feel the most at ease with the world and myself in that world when I'm completely into books. The best are those that I'm so into that I forget to talk to anyone at all. If I can keep going I never have to look down and remember I' ...more
Jul 23, 2015 Dolors rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like poetic short stories
Recommended to Dolors by: Aitor
Shelves: read-in-2013, asian
Life is merciless, it can bring random injustice upon us, sucking out our last breath of willpower, inflicting insurmountable damage. But sometimes it is also capricious and chooses to give hope to the hopeless, eyesight to the blind, atonement for the victims.
Chihiro and Nakajima cross paths on an unremarkable day when looking out of their respective windows they find their glances colliding with each other. They start engaging in silent, hesitant conversations, full of dubious smiles, nods and
Paquita Maria Sanchez
It should not take two weeks to read a book that's less than 200 pages long, but I literally kept falling asleep. It's kinda cute, kinda purdy, mostly boring, at times wise-ish, and sporadically gratingly twee, with a nice ghostly sheen of mystery culminating in a reveal that feels - after all the tea getting slowly sipped and paint getting softly brushed and steps being gently taken and empty space being contemplatively stared into* on our crawl to the finish line - like a Hollywood action sequ ...more
Most people are constantly perpetrating little acts of violence on others, even when they don't mean to.
The majority of the population of the world has an extremely ignorant conception of what they are entitled to expect from others. Those who don't understand why members of certain minority groups are so "political", others who think they envy those who can use the handicapped parking, those loud individuals who think needing trigger warnings is something to be ashamed about. It'd be less of
May 11, 2011 Oriana rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2011
(review #9 for CCLaP!)


I didn't, luckily, so I was able to experience it as written, as a slow build, a soft, sad, slight mystery, with all the hidden things left hidden, or at least obscured, until they were meant to be revealed. I can't believe Melville House wasn't smart enough to realize that you can't give away the big twist in huge blue letters right there at the top of the blurb. What a massive disservice to Banana.

Ah, Banana. I've loved her for a lo
Feb 15, 2012 Justin rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, japan
It’s hard to summarize this novella-length story without giving too much away. In fact, I’d recommend against reading the marketing copy, since it spoils the one and only surprise in the book. It’s best described as a stilted and intensely awkward meet-cute, I guess. Introspective young woman notices odd neighbor, and almost despite herself, begins to reach out to him and draw him out of his shell. They begin a fragile romance as she gets closer to the truth of his ethereal weirdness, and both o ...more
Nov 15, 2015 Lily rated it really liked it
This book has the peculiar distinction of being the last book that I finished before getting my heart broken with a sledgehammer. As such, anything I say about The Lake now will be hopelessly and unfairly distorted. Luckily, I took notes while I was reading:

The story is narrated by Chihiro, who is more concerned with external events than with the machinations of her own mind. Through what she does and doesn't tell us, her inner paradoxes are revealed. She places the highest value on the timeless
Jason Pettus
May 18, 2011 Jason Pettus rated it really liked it
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

It's pure coincidence that Japanese author Banana Yoshimoto started having her first American successes in the same early-'90s years when I myself first quit photography and started writing (and even further coincidence that one of the people in the writing workshop I belonged to at the time had a fetish f
La domanda fondamentale di questo libro è: ma che diavolo è una rete per mochi?!
Per chi non lo sapesse il mochi (餅) è un dolcetto molto comune in Giappone, fatto di riso glutinoso, tritato e pestato ad ottenere una pasta ed arrotondato in modo da formare una specie di palla. OK fin qui ci siamo, ho dovuto però controllare come si cucinasse perché non ne avevo idea e in nessuna delle ricette ho trovato una "rete" per mochi. Nakajima dorme con una rete per mochi sotto l'ascella, quindi sarà qualco
Jaclyn Michelle
Nov 29, 2012 Jaclyn Michelle rated it did not like it

It was this blurb on The Millions about Yoshimoto's The Lake being shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize that prompted me to pick it up:

"The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto: She’s big in Japan, inspiring a cult following and selling upwards of six million novels, but Banana Yoshimoto will always polarise opinion. Critics may be tempted to call her Murakami-lite, given her fondness for the same kind of broad subjects as her heavyweight compatriot – ultra-mo
Mar 02, 2013 Marvin rated it really liked it
Warning: Do not read the Goodreads description. Too much info big-time! I will not indulge in any spoilers.

There's something about Banana Yoshimoto. Her prose is as light as a feather yet the emotions behind them are deep and profound. The casualness of her writing can be deceiving. That, her simplicity of style, and her immense popularity are probable reasons why an unnamed Nobel committee member, when asked if Yoshimoto had a chance at the Nobel prize for Literature, replied, "She's dreaming."
Carol Mola
Jun 03, 2015 Carol Mola rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
El lago es una bella historia que gira en torno a la aceptación del pasado y sobre todo a la superación de la muerte de un ser querido, tema muy recurrente en toda la obra de Banana Yoshimoto. Sus personajes están rotos y tratan de recomponerse poco a poco en una sutil búsqueda de si mismos. Tienen esa fuerza interior que los hace especiales, pero al juntarse forman un gran equipo todavía más favorable. Son desdichados, pero también valientes.

Jean-Paul Walshaw-Sauter


„Wenn der Gesichtsausdruck sich ändert, wenn Menschen eine Zukunft vor sich sehen… Das ist wahre Schönheit.”

Banana Yoshimoto was born Mahoko Yoshimoto in 1964. She graduated from Nihon University's Art College, majoring in Literature. She wrote her first book "Kitchen", which catapulted her to fame in 1988, while she was jobbing as a waitress in a café. It was there that she fell in love with the red banana flower, which Yoshimoto qualifies as "purposefully androgynous" and she now dons the no
Donatella Principi
Jun 26, 2015 Donatella Principi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giapponesi
Recensione @ Chibiistheway
La storia è fatta di ricordi: ogni evento presente scaturisce un ricordo del passato, ma non uno qualsiasi, un evento importante che ha segnato in qualche modo i personaggi. In questo modo possiamo capire a fondo come sono fatti i personaggi e perché ragionino in un certo modo. Soprattutto per quanto riguarda Nakajima, un ragazzo dal carattere oscuro e molto strano, un personaggio a metà fra il mondo reale e uno non definito. Chihiro stessa ha paura che quest'altro mo
Si hay algo de lo que me siento muy feliz, es de saber que hay una autora ahí afuera que me habla. Banana Yoshimoto no se destaca por sus grandes historias, ni libros interesantes, ella hace libros llenos de vida, serenidad, nostalgia, reflexión; no pasa nada, pero sientes.

El Lago es creo, el libro de Yoshimoto que más me ha hecho sentir. No sé si se trata de un episodio en mi vida, pero la yo de este momento se conmovió hasta las lágrimas del sentir de sus protagonistas. La narración siempre es
Bach Tran Quang
Chuyện này đáng ra thì được 3 sao, nhưng vì cái cách nhân vật nữ chính gọi nhân vật nam chính là "hắn" khiến tôi đành cho điểm thấp. Tôi không hiểu lắm cái dụng ý của dịch giả, hoặc tác giả khi để một người đầu gối tay ấp gọi người kia là "hắn" - một từ thường đi liền với cái gì đó xấu xa không tốt đẹp. Và làm tôi cứ thắc mắc mãi cho đến trang cuối cùng.

Hồ gồm 2 mạch truyện. 1 về Chihiro, 1 về Nakajima. Nói chung là rời rạc lung tung. Không ăn nhập gì vào nhau. Có một chi tiết rất tình là 2 nhân
Lolly K Dandeneau
May 05, 2011 Lolly K Dandeneau rated it really liked it
I have read comments that Yoshimoto's writing doesn't flow right, reads strange and some think it's due to something lost in translation. I am sure, having lived in Japan (still do actually) and understanding English is far different, that it does cheat us of something but certainly not to the point that the novels aren't great. I believe, even in Japanese, that it is strange writing, as it has an esoteric flavoring. There is always an element of the mystical and this is where her work stands ap ...more
Che ne penso di questo libro??? Che non è la solita Yoshimoto. Oh meglio da un lato sì perché ha questa capacità di catapultarmi in Giappone e nelle sue storie come nessuno sa fare. Di solito arriva diretta al mio cuore e mi disintegra l'anima. Questa volta invece ho avuto dei momenti in cui mi sono chiesta se lo avesse scritto davvero lei. Sarà che la protagonista mi stava davvero sulle scatole. Okay che è una che nasconde i propri sentimenti ma oltre a questo mi è sembrata anche ebete. Peccato ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
For the longest time (well, not THAT long, the ebook edition is barely 100 pages) I'm not sure what to make of The Lake. Especially coming off a rollercoaster like The Museum of Abandoned Secrets , which will make any book seem flat in comparison, especially when it deals with some superficial similarities (a love story between two scarred people still mourning the loss of a close family member, trying to create art in a C.R.E.A.M. world...) Is this a story of the difficulties of healing trauma ...more
Dec 13, 2013 Sergsab rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A veces no se nos da opción. Lo prácticamente roto cae en nuestras manos y no podemos apartar la mirada. No podemos cerrar la puerta. No podemos cocinar espaguetis con el propósito de que aquello que nos demanda atención acabe por cansarse y se marche. A veces, no.

Y este 'El Lago' es una de esas veces.

El milagro de algo que se sostiene en pie con el único fin de agarrarse a nosotros antes de tropezar y caer para siempre. La necesidad humana de proteger lo hermoso de la vulgaridad del mundo que
May 04, 2015 Isa-janis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pues la verdad es que es de los que más me han gustado de Yoshimoto <3.
Mar 29, 2014 Gabriela rated it really liked it
Recommended to Gabriela by: Noémi Balási
*revised* After a very thorough analysis during the book club session, this booked proved a lot more than it had led to be. It is essentially full of symbols that we discovered during our discussion, amazing context to be deciphered and re-thought in detail. I revise my rating from 3 to 4 stars. And I promise hereby to read The Kitchen :)

*first edit below*

I wish I hadn't read about the book before starting it. Though lately I am always doing it , just to make sure I choose something very good. A
juan carlos
Jan 01, 2015 juan carlos rated it it was amazing
Un libro con una prosa delicada y sensible, que te muestra el como seguir luchando por lo que te gusta, mientras te enfrentas a traumas de la infancia, el amor de pareja y los terrores de la sociedad actual. Banana Yosshimoto, de nuevo me vuelve a cautivar con sus frases y un final inesperado :).
John Velo
Mar 08, 2016 John Velo rated it really liked it
Ever since I've gotten back to reading, Banana Yoshimoto's novels has been put on my to-read list but I haven't gotten the chance to read because her books are kind of difficult to come by in my country and now, I'm happy to read my very first Banana Yoshimoto book and I'm most certain it won't be the last. I'm very interested and drawn to Japanese authors and she's one among many that I'll be reading more of from now.

I had no idea what the book will be about when I picked it up, I just bought
Ashita Thakur
Rating- 3.5

The Lake starts off slow. Not slow enough to make you sleep, but slow enough to make you forget its existence...or to make you want to forget you were reading this. It took me a considerable amount of time to get in the flow and the flow, when it came, was because I was in a hospital with nothing else to do. (The book starts with the protagonist remembering her mother's last days in a hospital. Coincidence? I think not.) Is the book worth reading? Probably. Did i like it? Yes, in part
May 18, 2015 kunaom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
อานไปกพยายามหาวา Lake คืออะไร 'ทะเลสาบ' จะปรากฏขึนตอนไหน
สุดทายเปนแคเรืองราวของคน 2 คน ทีถูกอดีตตีตัวตนจนแตกราว
เธอหลีกเรนจากอดีตอันนาสมเพศ ไมเปนทีตองการ
เขาผูลึกลับ แปลกประหลาด เพราะถูกตัดตอจากอดีต
อานไปแลว เรืองของนางเอกดูจะไมหนักหนา และเบาบางไปเลย เมือเทียบกับสิงทีพระเอกเคยเจอ ทำใหคนอานอยากรูเลยวาเขาเคยเจออะไรมา
แตดวยภาษา บรรยายเขาใจยาก (หรือเราเขาไมถึงเองกันแนนะ 55) อานผานๆ อานขามๆไปกเยอะ เทาทีจับความได สุดทายแลวกไมไดมีอะไรนากลัวเทาไหร ทะเลสาบสำคัญอะไรกับพระเอกขนาดนัน เรากยังไมรูสึกถึงนะ
excellent novel which i read twice cover to cover after I got used with the author's style; told by a late 20's narrator (see the blurb for more details) so in a voice that on occasion seems naive but always moving and featuring her relationship with a strange young man she meets by chance as he lives in an apartment across hers; both have some things in common (recently deceased mothers who were very close to them, somewhat estranged fathers, independent of means) but they are also very differe ...more
Dec 16, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it
After the death of her mother, Chihiro moved to Tokyo in an attempt to run away from her grief and start a new life. Tokyo also offered the opportunity to try and kick start her dream career as a graphic artist. It was here, she met and befriended Nakajima, and their friendship quickly blossomed into a relationship. The Lake is a beautiful and mysterious novel about a blossoming relationship and the baggage that comes with it.

I have often heard great things about the writing of Banana Yoshimoto
Sep 25, 2015 diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

(Comentario y fragmentos para el futuro)

Tengo solamente una certeza: esto es más ambicioso de lo que parece. Tengo la impresión de que en 120 páginas (mi edición), se tocan puntos sobre arte, ciencia, estética, filosofía, etc. Como si todos mis pocos conocimientos sobre la cultura, la sexualidad, la historia y el arte japonés de repente han sido convocados e interpelados por esta novela. Más allá de la fábula (los problemas de dos jóvenes estoicos y asexuales) hay un entretejido de recuerdos, su
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500 Great Books B...: The Lake - Banana Yoshimoto - Dolors 3 19 Dec 19, 2015 03:32PM  
Her mother's death 2 32 Jul 30, 2013 09:27AM  
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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...

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“But I have my life, I’m living it. It’s twisted, exhausting, uncertain, and full of guilt, but nonetheless, there’s something there.” 183 likes
“It was so gorgeous it almost felt like sadness.” 85 likes
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