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Hardboiled / Hard Luck
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Hardboiled / Hard Luck

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  2,306 ratings  ·  205 reviews
Признанный сюрреалист среди японских писателей, Банана Есимото умеет создавать мистический эффект как никто другой.
Ее последняя книга представляет собой два исследования понятий "любовь", "память" и "скорбь".
Paperback, 128 pages
Published 2009 by Амфора (first published 1999)
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My unsubstantiated theory on Banana is that she needs a better translator. Not that she's not great -- she often is -- but I feel like there's a sort of choppiness in her prose sometimes, and sporadic awkward turns of phrase. That's less true in this book than in some of her others, maybe, but it's still there.

I do think she's basically in the same class as Murakami, using a similar voice to skate through many of the same themes, like the "this side / the other side" dichotomy, with things and
Ms. Lizzie D’souza used to make the most decadent marzipan Easter eggs a palate has ever savored. Nestled oh so cozily among the delicate weaves of satin cradles, unwearyingly waiting for enthusiastic strangers through the glass casement, somehow brought ephemeral magic to the quaint bakery down the leafy street; evermore dazzling with Lizzie’s welcoming smile. Easter is still a month away, but the commencing of Lent has brought in an inventory of pre-orders of the sugary almond confectionery. ...more
Jennifer Tatroe
This edition of Hardboiled & Hard Luck, which is actually two novellas (some would even call them long short stories) rather than a single novel, is adorable. It's smaller and thinner than your average trade paperback, with a matte pastel cover. Holding it feels like holding a kitten or a newborn, something very special and delicate.

That's a good metaphor for the book, as well. Everything Banana Yoshimoto writes is delicate. She holds human emotion in the palm of her hand and is so very care
Is it just me, or is Banana Yoshimoto the cutest name you can imagine?

Confession: While I profess to love all things Japanese, I have a very limited knowledge of Japanese books. The most I've read by Japanese authors is by Haruki Murakami and Yasunari Kawabata, as well as several anthologies of haiku and tanka. I even got along well enough with hiragana and katagana, but as these things go, you must use it or lose it, and in my case, I lost it.

Not that I can't find it again.

Carry on... I learne
Nilam Suri
I've never been a big fan of ghost stories, no matter how beautiful they were. So the first story, Hardboiled didn't do too well for me. It crept me though, especially in the hotel room scene.

But the second story, Hard Luck, i really love it. It made me remember why I insisted on finding another book by Ms. Yoshimoto after I read Kitchen.

The story was about a girl whose sister was dying because of cerebral hemisphere, or brain damage. While the sister was lying there, like a vegetable, the rest
I loved the way that Banana Yoshimoto writes about a dark theme as is death. But the most delightful is the manner that she includes the feelings of those around the dead or the terminally ill, because they really are not tales about the end of a life, but about sensations of those still living.
Hardboiled was the tale i liked most, despite that the ghostly stories are not my favourites, because the character has a mixed of strong feelings all together (for instance guilt, freedom, love, fear, et
Eh. Very cute. I liked the second novella, Hard Luck, a lot better than the first, Hard Boiled, even though I originally thought that the reverse would be true. Maybe it was just the translation, but I just couldn't really get into it.

Octopus for Sarah!
Tim Lepczyk
I always feel a lack when I read translations. The words, so lovingly put in place, feel out of place. Sentences strung across the page, at times, fall short. They have communicated a message, transferred their intent, but lost some beauty along the way. It is as if once the writing is outside it's natural language, it is all business, focused on the task. Hardboiled and Hard Luck, two novellas by Japanese writer, Banana Yoshimoto, are two works of fiction that slide into the group of translatio ...more
Hardboiled and Hard Luck includes two novellas, that read more like introspective melancholic vignettes rather than typical short stories where externality matters; it doesn’t. Banana Yoshimoto has THE most gorgeous pen name ever and creates an interesting atmosphere, charged with warmth, sadness, doubt, love and fear. And ghosts.

That said, both stories felt like a work in progress to me at the end of the day. I suspect it has to do with the translation as well. The writing style is somewhat ch
Hardboiled and Hard luck como bien su propio nombre indica son dos historias escritas ya hace algún tiempo por Banana Yoshimoto. Al igual que otros títulos de la autora, Hardboiled y Hard luck son dos historias llenas de sentimientos escondidos en la profundidad del alma pero que, inevitablemente, acaban por surgir a la superficie convertidas en palabras. Hechos -y sobre todo sentimientos- que se aceptan finalmente o se descubren por medio de las situaciones a las que se enfrentan sus personajes ...more
There is something vaguely unsettling about reading fiction set in Japan - especially fiction by Banana Yoshimoto. One ends up feeling like she's in a parallel universe, talking about a country and experiences that can only happen to those people. Emotion run deep and intense, experiences are bizarre and unpredictable, nothing can be pinned down to realistic experience. And yet, at the end of it all, everything can be explained by the fragility of human nature and emotions. It's a kind of magic ...more
I just finished reading the Japanese edition of this book after reading the English translation first, and after skimming some of the other reviews on here I have to say that I agree; something important about the spirit of this book is lost in translation. Before I get to sounding all pretentious I have to note that there are other factors influencing my opinion, like:

1) I read much slower in Japanese, which might've lead to a much fuller reading experience than what my habit of speeding throug
Je suis toujours surprise de trouver autant de réconfort dans les histoire de Banana Yoshimoto, dans ses livre qui toujours finissent par parler de la mort, & des fantômes des gens qu'on a aimés, & du temps qui passe. Ce sont des histoires qui devraient être inquiétantes mais qui ne le sont jamais tout à fait, que l'auteure réussit à faire couler doucement, tranquillement, en tissant de ces atmosphères brumeuses qui engourdissent les pensées. Alors moi je pense à Banana Yoshimoto comme à ...more
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Banana Yoshimoto is my most favorite author. Her stories always has a light sense of sadness, nostalgia and bitterness. Banana Yoshimoto's writing is slow,and addictive. Hard-boiled and Hard-luck are my favorite stories. They are really deep, and sad to some extent. However, I have to minus one star because Hard-boiled and Hard luck stories remind me of another novel of Banana "Asleep". Both stories in this book are about the characters dealing with the loss of their loved ones. The first is abo ...more
Cynthia Katherine
I don't know how I feel about this.
It was a really interesting read and I couldn't put the book down, but both stories were way too short. Everything ended so fast and I couldn't ever truly connect with the characters although they felt so real and complex from the beginning till the very last page. Unfortunately it felt like a short summary of a real novel.
This is the third of Banana Yoshimoto's books I've read now. She's become a favourite author for me. I love the odd mix of clarity and dreaminess in the style, and the mix of carelessness and sensitivity of her protagonists.
"Hard-boiled" is a read of one sitting simply because it's simple poetic lure does not allow it to be set down. I fell in love with the ghostly elements and elegant telling of a story that is at heart about a girl coming to terms with the people she has lost--particularly one former lover/roommate, the girl who haunts her dreams. The series of "coincidental" events linked by unassuming river stones and a significant date is spellbinding, and the narrator is a fully developed character with an at ...more
Five stars for Hardboiled, three stars for Hard Luck = 4 stars overall.

Quick read, very good. I will say that there were some editing errors that detracted from the overall mood of the story.

Hardboiled follows a well-established tradition in Japanese literature of ghost stories, and the departed communicating with the living. The story doesn't subvert this in any way, but neither does it try to; it simply uses this literary history to tell a deeper story about the main character. The fact that
This book has two different stories in it and two specific narrative voices. While there are similarities, youth, death, having to work through a difficult situation, the scenes and characters aren't the same.
This is possibly why I felt that Hardboiled was an ok story whereas Hard Luck was really good.

Hardboiled has a narrator who - like many Murakami stories (and Banana reminds me of him) - associates itself with something supernatural/alien. The woman in the story finds herself suspended in so
Sad and gloomy just like any other Yoshimoto's books, these two novellas can be finished very quickly. I really enjoyed the first story, Hardboiled, but the second one, Hard Luck, falls a bit short for me. I think the story doesn't flow too well, the same formula is repeated in the endings of each chapter. I keep expecting a twist somewhere in the plot or the relationships of the characters, but it didn't happen. Props for Hardboiled though, it offers a lot of surprises up to the bittersweet end ...more
Feb 04, 2011 Kakihara rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young lovers
Recommended to Kakihara by: BBiux
Both tales were really fascinating to me, first time I read Banana Yoshimoto and I enjoy the way she can easily take the reader to imagine somehow how we all would like to be remembered once we die... little bit of sadness she shows but this is what death is all about... one thing I am glad is that love will always be above the end of life.
I think I have a problem with how some of the sentences turned out in this book. Not sure if it's a translation issue or if it's really written like that (some typographical errors make me wonder, but I don't know). Like, there's a description of birds flying across the western sky, followed by another description of how the sky in the west still retained some daylight. These are two separate sentences coming after the other. Both of them mention the western sky. Surely this could have been one ...more
Ad essere sincera, il primo racconto non mi ha entusiasmato particolarmente, specie per la presenza dei fantasmi. Essi infatti, sono figure che non apprezzo molto in letteratura e che, a maggior ragione in questo racconto, ho trovato particolarmente fuori luogo. Questo perché "Hard Boiled" tratta esplicitamente il tema della morte che, com'è noto, nelle società Orientali, è considerata parte integrante dell'esistenza umana stessa. Allora, perché ricorrere ad una figura letteraria così poco umana ...more
i think this book about hard luck, is very sad! but is narrative remembering the sister who dying on the bed, it was slowly understanding how we do let go somebody. this a short history but can say how is our suffering when we lost someone and remember good moments in our life.
I don't really think she's that great of a writer, at least the way it comes through in the text. Maybe she has not had the greatest translators, as some of the same peculiarities that pop up in other Japanese books also show up here. Generally if her works were set in a location familiar to me and not a place of interest, I probably wouldn't bother. Hardboiled was interested but certainly incredibly flawed in the way her stories seem to be, but Hard Luck redeemed it in a lot of ways. Despite be ...more
Con il primo racconto (hard boiled) ho avuto qualche difficoltà ad ingranare, era carico di spiritualità e può essere che non era il momento adatto per leggerlo. Però andando avanti con la lettura ha iniziato a piacermi, soprattutto per le ambientazioni suggestive. Invece il secondo racconto (hard luck) l'ho trovato piatto e banale dall'inizio alla fine (e in più c'è stata una frase, totalmente fuori dal contesto della storia, che mi ha fatto rizzare la cresta come un gatto da quanto era gratuit ...more
Deana Pittman
I guess this was just not my kind of book....too depressing.
Matt Raymond
This Banana Yoshimoto book is actually two different stories, not definitively linked to each other, that deal with aspects of letting go. I liked it a little less than her more popular book Kitchen, which I loved. This book dealt more with the supernatural/afterlife themes that Yoshimoto likes to subtly bring up. In this book, it's more in-your-face and I think it sort of cheapens the effect it should have.

Hardboiled was my favorite of the two. A young woman, staying at a hotel, is haunted by t
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Hardluck 2 22 Nov 08, 2012 03:15PM  
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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 N.P. Asleep Goodbye Tsugumi The Lake

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“Ultimately, though, it's living people that frighten me the most. It's always seemed to me that nothing could be scarier than a person, because as dreadful places can be, they're still just places; and no matter how awful ghosts might seem, they're just dead people. I always thought that the most terrifying things anyone could ever think up were the things living people came up with. ” 43 likes
“She was still there inside me now, just as she always was: a life put on hold, a memory I didn't know how to handle.” 16 likes
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