Ed's Reviews > The Lake

The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto
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Jul 29, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011, 4-stars, new-author-to-me, novella, read-on-kindle, translation
Read from July 24 to 29, 2011

One of the nice things about reading on the Kindle is that there is no back cover/inner flap to spoil the plot. I somehow managed to remain mostly unspoiled before and during reading The Lake -- but now I see even the bolded tagline here on GoodReads gives away *THE* plot point of the novel, and if that didn't do it, the synopsis throws the rest away. Why do publishers do this?

The novel centers around Chihiro, a young woman trying to break free into adulthood but still reeling from the death of her mother. She eventually stumbles upon and begins "dating" (quotes intentional, it's kind of odd) Nakajima, a young man also dealing with the death of his mother, but with a very mysterious and painful past. What this mystery is and how Yoshimoto slowly builds the suspense and unravels his past is really quite wonderful -- that is, unless you've already read the back cover or tagline/synopsis! I can see why folks would be potentially unimpressed knowing what's going on in advance, and that's a real shame.

There is a great thought from Chihiro that sums this up: "As long as it remained a mystery, I could have dealt with it - no matter how enormous a mystery it became. Now that matters had gotten more specific, my imagination began supplying smells and textures." I think it makes a huge difference if the reader is allowed to know what Chihiro knows when *she* knows it.

A real gem of novel (novella? only 200-ish pages), haunting quality, some really lovely prose -- perhaps a bit too quirky/oddball for some, but think most fans of literary fiction would like this one... just don't read anything about it!
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Quotes Ed Liked

Banana Yoshimoto
“As long as it had remained a mystery, I could have dealt with it--no matter how enormous a mystery it became. Now that matters had gotten more specific, my imagination began supplying smells and textures.”
Banana Yoshimoto, The Lake


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