! I think you'd really like these one. It's right up your alley. ^_^Yoshimoto, Banana. Asleep. Trans. Michael Emmerich. 2000. New York: Grove, 2001. (Original Japanese Edition: 1989)Summary
: Original entitled Shirakawa Yofune
. Includes three novellas: "Night and Night's Travelers," "Love Songs," and "Asleep."Comments
: "Night and Night's Travelers" tells the story of a Shibami, whose cousin Mari was dating her brother Yoshihiro. Now that her brother is dead, Mari is living life in a dazed, half-awake state of mourning. Turns out that Yoshihiro got a kid on an American woman named Sarah, and Shibami sees the two of them when they visit Japan with the rest of their family briefly. This was the least compelling of the three stories, and while the writing is per usual Yoshimoto gorgeous, the story left me with a "Why should I care?" feeling. On the other hand, "Love Songs" was excellent. About two women in love with the same man who feel an unexpressed attraction to each other, they meet each other one last time in an in-between life and death world after one of them dies. "Asleep" is also excellent; a woman dating a man whose wife is a vegetable is having trouble staying awake. In the end, she decides that life is worth living, and she overcomes the compulsion to sleep. Yoshimoto's true literary talents seem to come alive when she has limited space in which to express herself. She must convey the maximum amount of impact in the briefest possible fashion, revealing the universal in the particular but with no time, as it were, to beat readers over the head with it. Japanese writers are often that way (think haiku). These novellas were like reading ladies manga in text form; I was reminded in particular of Okazaki Mari's Sweat & Honey
: trade paperback, 1st printingRating
- The second and third story are highly recommended. Read the first one last, if at all.