BOOK REVIEWS

KITCHEN: BOOK REVIEW

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Kitchen
by Banana Yoshimoto
★★★✰✰ 3.5 stars of 5 stars (4 stars to Kitchen, 3 stars to “Moonlight Shadow”)

Yoshimoto’s distinctive style perfectly captures grief and its ramifications. After the death of her grandmother Mikage, an orphan, finds herself without a family. Mikage, unable to bear another loss, attempts to withdraw from others.
Yoshimoto renders the emptiness and sadness experienced by Mikage in a rather matter-of-fact way. And Mikage’s grief and depression feel all the more real because of it. Yoshimoto manages to imbue ordinary objects and places (ie. a kitchen) with incredible feeling. By paying attention to small details (such as the way that sunlight shines through a glass) Yoshimoto brings to life seemingly mundane moments. Her writing style really lends itself to the depiction Mikage’s grief. In her estrangement from her daily life she is empowered by small or normal things (such as kitchen utensils and or a beautiful dish).
Overall, Kitchen was a really good novella. I sympathised with Mikage’s and I understood the numbness that overwhelms her. The few interactions she has with other people were really lovely, and of course, her relationship with Yoichi and Eriko was incredibly sweet. And with time, Mikage finds some sort of solace.
“Moonlight Shadow” lacked the realism of Kitchen. It was much shorter and, since I read it immediately after Kitchen, I couldn’t help comparing the two. Kitchen packs so much more feeling and character. “Moonlight Shadow” might also deal with grief but it does it in a far more rushed and predictable manner.

View all my reviews

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