Jan 11, 10
Read in January, 2010
Asleep contains three stories of young women who are somehow bewitched into a spiritual sleep. Night and Night's Travelers is the first story where it features the connection between Shibami (the narrator) and her cousin Mari after the death of Shibami's brother, Yoshihiro. Mari has developed feelings for Yoshihiro before and ever since his death, she goes into a withdrawal stage where she sleepwalk. It is also at this time that Shibami began to discover a secret of Yoshihiro's previous relationship with an American girl.
The second story, Love Songs, is about a young woman named Fumi who often hears a soothing voice singing every time before she goes to sleep. Initially she dismiss it as the result of a broken heart and drinking, but yet again the more she thinks of it the more she thinks of Haru, a dead woman who also had a relationship with her ex-lover at the same time when she was with him. Haru and Fumi were never in good terms with each other; it is natural since they were both having a relationship with the same man but Fumi later find peace and friendship with Haru after a consultation with a midget psychic.
Asleep, which share the same title as the book is the last story where another young woman, Terako who is sleeping her days away after the death of her best friend, Shiori. She felt a deep sense of loss and not even her boyfriend, Mr. Iwanaga could release that pent-up tension in her. Mr. Iwanaga has a wife and Terako only knew about her coma later, as he is reluctant to mention anything about his wife. Terako then slowly began to find her new self only after she see through Shiori's life and a dreamlike encounter with Mr. Iwanaga's wife.
This book has similiar elements in each story, such as connection, friendship, love and death which associated with sleep (as indicated by the book title) and a sense of loneliness. Once again, Banana Yoshimoto has delivered another spellbinding stories, this time around with a mystical touch. She has captured each character's emotions so well that you would be able to feel for them. Another thing I love about Banana Yoshimoto's stories are they are told from a refreshing point of view even if they often revolve around the simple things in our life. Most of the times, I felt myself get carried away with her books because they are simply alluring, and not to mention thought-provoking at times.