Elaine's Reviews > The Lake

The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto
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's review
Feb 22, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: 2012
Read from February 21 to 24, 2012

I had high hopes for this one. I liked the narrator's voice, quirky, unassuming but compelling. And the theme the book begins with -- the loss of a mother and what it means to be a grown up -- was handled in spare, powerful strokes that had all the power that the maudlin manipulative Please Take Care of Mom did not. (I think it is a symptom of middle age, but meditations on the loss of a parent get me choked up like few other things, if done thoughtfully). Also promising was the beginning narration of the quirky, non-linear, unconventional love story (another theme I can relate to!). It drew me in, and seemed right and real, precisely for its weird imperfections.

But then -- and I must be as spare as Yoshimoto herself here -- the book acquires a mystical, surrealist vein. This didn't grab me. It just felt limpp and beamed in from another novel. And the "reveal" is meant to be ripped from the headlines heartwrenching and startling, but left me cold. I didn't feel the pain or loss that I think she wanted us to feel - just the too manufactured nature of the story. So I'm interested to read more, but not blown away.

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