George's Reviews > The Lake

The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto
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's review
Jul 29, 2011

liked it
Read in July, 2011

It seems sometimes that the more simple and direct an author's writing is, the more I struggle to get into a book. My chief problem with Yoshimoto is that she combines a deceptively simple form of writing -- short sentences, basic construction, etc. -- with analogies and metaphors that aren't always that intuitive. So, I find myself skimming along quickly and then suddenly having to read the same paragraph over a few times because I'm pretty sure I'm missing something. Yet, for some reason, I want to like her and have tried a few times now. I actually enjoyed The Lake more than Kitchen or Goodbye Tsugumi. As a number of the other reviewers have noted, do not read the summary (or at least not the last paragraph of it) or the experience will be (stealing from someone else's review) "lessened." The Lake starts out as somewhat of a romance between two damaged people, Chihiro and Nakajima. It's apparent that Nakajima is hiding some sort of terrible secret from his past (again, do not read the summary on the inside cover), and I enjoyed the way in which Yoshimoto lets both their relationship and his secrets unfold. The last part of the book, in which the events of Nakajima's hidden past are narrated, could probably have been developed into a pretty good novel, had that been the story that Yoshimoto wanted to tell, but despite the mystery that she shrouds them in, she is less interested in the traumatic events than in how those events affect us even years later.

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