Anna Luce's Reviews > The Lake

The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto
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it was ok
bookshelves: audiobooks, 6-so-so-reads, 2020-reviews, disappointing-reads

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2 ½ stars

The Lake is narrated by the quintessential Banana Yoshimoto protagonist. While Yoshimoto's sparse yet dreamy makes for an easy reading experience this is definitely not one of her ‘strongest’ novels.
Chihiro, daughter of an 'unconventional' couple, moves to Tokyo in order to pursue a career graphic artist. She's still grieving her mother's death and spends most of her time on her own. One day, as she is staring out of her window, she sees a young man staring back from a window across the street. The two quickly form a bond and begin to spend their spare time together. Nakajima, who has also lost his mother, is somewhat unwilling to discuss his past with Chihiro and when their relationship becomes more of a romance it becomes clear to her that he must have experience some childhood trauma.
This short novel is definitely not plot-oriented as the narrative mainly consists in Chihiro either navel-gazing or pronouncing two-bit aphorisms.
While Yoshimoto does evoke the places and sensations Chihiro visits/experiences, The Lake lacked the atmosphere and feeling of Kitchen an Umi no Futa (which I believe has yet to be translated in English). And whereas I usually enjoy how nostalgic ambience of her work, The Lake just came across as dated. Chihiro seems almost to relish the idea that Nakajima may be deeply traumatised and we also have a side-character who is affected by a mysterious illness and bed bound yet she is also omniscient and able to speak through others...
Overall, this was definitely one of Yoshimoto's more banal stories as it lacked that vital zing which usually makes her books such zesty reads.
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Reading Progress

November 21, 2020 – Started Reading
November 21, 2020 – Shelved
November 21, 2020 – Shelved as: audiobooks
November 22, 2020 – Finished Reading
November 25, 2020 – Shelved as: 6-so-so-reads
November 25, 2020 – Shelved as: 2020-reviews
November 25, 2020 – Shelved as: disappointing-reads

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