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3.56  ·  Rating details ·  7,881 ratings  ·  540 reviews
In N.P., Banana Yoshimoto’s enchanting novel of uncanny subtlety, style, magic, and mystery, a celebrated Japanese writer has committed suicide, leaving behind a collection of stories written in English. But the book, itself titled N.P., may never be published in his native Japan: each translator who takes up the ninety-eighth story chooses death too—including Kazami Kano’ ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published January 2007 by Grove Press (first published December 25th 1990)
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Average rating 3.56  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,881 ratings  ·  540 reviews

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Aug 14, 2008 rated it it was ok
I was unsure how to rate N.P., because I might have given it a better rating if I had read it at another time, in the 90s or when I was a teenager. I think maybe to me something was lost in translation - the short, matter-of-fact sentences didn't really engage me in the story or the characters. And there was a mistranslation: the word stepbrother is used when in the context of the story we see that she means half brother, as they are related by blood and have the same father.

It's always a bit s
Aug 13, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-italian
"Love is love. It doesn't matter what kind it is."

All hail my first one star review of 2016! Right now I'm at loss for words, I did really think I was going to enjoy this book. One of the key elements that drew me to N.P. was the translation bit. I thought this was going to be a story about translation and, more specifically, the seemingly impossible translation of the 98th story by the famous Japanese writer Sarao Takase, a translation that has led all of the people working on it to suicide. Th
May 03, 2011 added it
I had read Asleep, which was very good, but N.P. is more immature. It has in commun with Asleep a dreamy atmosphere, but in N.P. this atmosphere is more contrived. The novel is made mostly of scenes that take place in enclosed spaces--dialogues between the protagonists. This is a good premise, as far as I am concerned, but the problem is that the novel doesn't live up to its premise. One has the feeling that we are supposed to be fascinated with the characters and their incestuous relationships ...more
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
This didn't really work for me...I felt so disengaged from the story and every single character. I ended up not caring for any of their weird antics or their fate.
Apr 03, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Teenage angst and suicidal tendencies written in a scanty, simple yet elegant language.! Ü
Aug 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were a few developments in this story that threw me for a loop. In light of some strange coincidences, fate and destiny are raised by the small cast of characters, all of whom are caught in a mutual orbit that carries them through a significant series of changes in their lives. I don't know about fate, per say, but I will say that, were this kind of story to happen outside of fiction, it would rank high in terms of strange. I am glad that I did not read a plot synopsis beforehand, else I w ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jess Gulbranson
Jan 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Japanese girls, love quadrangles, incest, spirit mediums, and a book that makes people kill themselves... sounds like the next Takashi Miike movie.

However, it's actually the critically aclaimed book "NP" by Banana Yoshimoto. I won't go into detail about the slight but convoluted plot, but it follows the family and friends of the author of the eponymous book, a great example of the motif of harmful sensation. Translating it fully into the author's native language results in the translator's suici
Dasha H
Jul 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010
This was a really weird book for me. I suppose it was meant to be shocking and ground-breaking but wasn't and I ended up feeling more confused than appalled or thrilled.
The story was going nowhere, it's kind of hard to retell the plot, if there was one. There was, in fact, a given situation the characters find themselves in and their different ways of dealing with it, ways of getting out of it. The characters themselves were two-dimensional, as in you can probably imagine them from the author's
Mary Guthrie
Oct 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's hard to review this book. It's unlike anything I've ever read. To me, the descriptions were the most striking part - beautiful and vivid, and Yoshimoto created metaphors I'd never considered. I glimpsed scenes in my imagination with the same clarity as when you wake on a bright morning and see something right before your eyes, and after that the freshness and clarity of the image is gone forever. Her descriptions had that feeling for me.

It did not feel as though much happened in the story,
Feb 12, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan
Flat and boring. Incest is definitely not a topic that I would recommend to anyone. Banana Yoshimoto might be a master of her genre and the light YA love novels. She can elegantly portray the affection and tribulations between young lovers. Anyone who liked her "Kitchen" novella and Ms. Yoshimoto's writing style will undoubtedly like anything that she writes. Having said that, I could not wait for this to end. I hated to abandon midway wrongly anticipating a climax that never materialized. I pre ...more
Short novel which I couldn't put down once I started it; like most other books by the author, it is narrated by a young woman and it builds psychological suspense until one really must fly through the book to see how it is resolved - usually in the author's books there is no neat resolution but a stopping point and this book is no different though i thought the ending here is clearer and segueing into a new beginning

The novel deals with potentially uncomfortable issues (some for the time of publ
Hafizz Nasri
Quite a controversial theme-- incest and suicide. Not that something I love to read, honestly. But Yoshimoto always great in expressing her characters it feels so dreamy and surreal yet so comfortable and real. The characters here were young people dealing with life and destiny, trying their hard to live as it is each days, dealing with broken families and troubled relationship. It was something too common but weird and problematic.

I love how it was all started from a bunch of manuscripts to su
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'N.P.' by Banana Yoshimoto was recommended to me by friends who were Yoshimoto fans. One of my friends lent it to me and I read it yesterday. This is the third Yoshimoto book that I have read in the past three months. Isn't that cool?

The story told in 'N.P.' goes like this. Kazami, the narrator of the story, is a young woman who works in the university. She talks about an author called Sarao Takase whom she discovered years back, because her boyfriend of that time, Shoji, was translating one of
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Read this when I was at uni, but it was one of those books I was too young (by then) to really appreciate. I was looking through my old books and wondering if I should give them a re-read when I stumbled upon my copy of this. I remember thinking Kitchen was SO much better than N.P., and I wondered if I would think the same now.

It's different, and there are definitely more risks in N.P. than in Kitchen. And because I'm totally into the Zero Escape games, I found so many topics here that appealed
Jul 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I recently re-read this book for the first time in 25 years and found it even more satisfying than the first time.

The story follows a young woman who gets pulled into a mystery about why three people involved in the attempted translation of a short story committed suicide. But this is no high strung thriller. If anything, the book felt more like a written meditation, weaving a dream-like tone throughout the life of its young Japanese main character as she is pulled from the periphery towards th
Feb 05, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Totally inane. During the course of a summer, a young woman named Kazami, hangs out with 3 other people in their twenties: Otohiko, Saki and Sui. Otohiko and Saki are the legitimate children of Takase, a writer who committed suicide. Sui, their half-sister, who had an incestuous relationship with Takase, has been Otohiko's girlfriend for some years. Between those 2 bouts of incest, she also found time to have an affair with Shoji, Takase's translator, who then had an affair with Kazami, before, ...more
Kristi Thompson
Mar 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I liked the idea of a story that drove translators -- not readers or writers -- to suicide, and the way everything was brought out at a remove, very elegantly. And the irony: a Japanese story written in Japanese and translated into English, about a Japanese story written in English that couldn't be translated into Japanese, because that would bring it too close... A clear wall of elegance and distance, but very intense things on the other side, incest and death.

I think it suffered itself in tran
Jul 17, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: japandemonium
I couldn't put it down, but the underlying mystery of the danger at the rot of this novel (several people who have tried to translate a late writer's book have committed suicide before finishing) seems to be forgotten too quickly, then casually and inadequately explained. The untranslatable work as it's described lacks the power it is meant to have, so we again find ourselves with a book (about a life-changing book) that is itself far from memorable or compelling.
Jun 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
"The sentences were threadbare and somehow pathetic." (p 100)

"'I don't think you're really cut out for translation, you know that?'
'Why? Because I'm not accurate enough?'
'How can I describe it? You're weak, not really weak, but too kind. You think that you have to be faithful to the structure of the original sentences.'" (p 117)
Jun 04, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is my second try at reading Yoshimoto - I read Asleep last summer and wasn't the biggest fan. I felt like the writing escaped me; whether that's due to something being lost in translation or just a dislike for the writing style, I'm not sure. I had a similar experience reading N.P. The short, blunt sentences tried very hard to be poignant/mysterious/poetic but, for me, the emotion was missing and it felt like words on the page for the sole purpose of sounding pretty. Some sentences did stan ...more
Sudeepta Pradhan (booksteaandmore)
Trigger warning for suicide

In this orderly system of world and society, we judge things that seems out of place and often troubled people are perceived in a certain way. Yoshimoto takes you in a journey where you come across Sui who on the surface seems like what a society would call a fallen women. Early on as we are introduced to her character and we feel the same about her but as the story moves on we see how troubled her mind is and how she is fighting to not kill herself.

This is a short b
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan
I picked this up at the library, having forgotten that I already read it. Reading it again brought back memories of the first time I read it. One of the things I love about Banana Yoshimoto is how atmospheric her writing is and how I can get completely swept away by the world in her writing. In this story, it's a combination of summer and getting caught up in someone else's family drama. However, on re-reading this, I felt really disconnected from the characters. This may have been a result of t ...more
Ken Yuen
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeffrey Bumiller
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow this was really strange. N.P. deals with some of the same themes as Asleep, the last book I read by Yoshimoto and it was nice to return to her take on them: death, grief, sex... you know stuff I wanna read about. I love her writing, again it is subdued and delicate, floating, and dreamlike. I didn't like this as much as Asleep, but I still loved it.
Yeah... not for me. This book felt very empty and flat despite an amazing plot idea, I thought it would be spooky but no, there is just gross elements like incest thrown in there for... idk? shock value maybe? But the writing style is so flat it just bored me, it's a very short book and it was still a struggle to get through because I was so bored.
Marj Casal
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've missed the feeling of reading Haruki Murakami's books. Since Killing Commendatore, I could only re-read his old books to remind me of that feeling. I'm glad to have stumbled upon Banana Yoshimito whose stories fall under the same genre.

While reading N.P., I already knew that the hunt for the rest of Banana Yoshimoto's books has commenced. I would appreciate any leads (I got this book from Roel's Bookshop).
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not Yoshimoto’s best book, but still quite good. The premise (a cursed story which causes its translators to commit suicide) is surprisingly a minor part of the point (which is, I would argue, about complicated interpersonal relationships).
Sandy Plants
May 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: luv-n-sex
I love the atmosphere Yoshimoto creates with her words.
Aaron Mcilhenny
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
File under: Writers I wanna write like

All the same, this was a weird book
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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).)

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 liberal family, she learned the value of independence from a young age.

She gradua

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