There's something about Japanese writers. They have the unparalleled ability of transforming an extremely ordinary scene from our everyday mundane lives into something magical and other-worldly. A man walking along a river-bank on a misty April morning may appear to our senses as an ethereal being, barely human, on the path to deliverance and self-discovery.
There's something deeply melancholic yet powerfully meaningful about the beautiful vignettes they beget. Few other writers are capable of creating such exquisite surrealistic imagery as the Japanese writers.Kitchen
, by Banana Yoshimoto, is no exception to this cherished convention.
Revolving around the theme of dealing with loss, Kitchen
focuses on two young women as protagonists and their perceptions of life and death.
It tells us about how recurring personal tragedies shape and reshape our views on life and death, the kind of catharsis we wish for and the mechanisms we often end up resorting to, in order to keep our personal grief from spilling over into the realm of our everyday reality.
Kitchen is definitely not the most ingeniously narrated tale ever. Rather it suffers from the monotony of brief, simple sentences that may not sit well with some readers who love eloquence.
But this simplistic mode of narration, helps it stay true to its original intention, that of recounting the story of ordinary people doing ordinary things yet coming to unexpectedly profound realizations about the great quandary of life.