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Book Review - Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto

Author: Banana Yoshimoto Translated by: Michael Emmerich
Publisher: Faber & Faber Limited. London, UK, 2000
ISBN: 0-571-20537-2 Pages: 177

A delightful selection of three short stories that will touch you

Copyright. Peter Hanami, 2014. All rights reserved,

I really enjoy Banana Yoshimotos books and this book of short stories is no exception. Her way of
blending human feelings in a way that is powerful and insightful. In this book we are lucky to read three
separate stories.
Story 1 Is called Night & Night Travelers. The narrator Shibami tells the story of her brothers relationship
with a foreigner, Sarah and how her brother died. Her cousin Mari had dated him after he broke up with
Sarah. She explores the complexities of relationships and how they impact others lives. Sarah had a
boyfriend and a child but Mari has trouble getting over Yoshihiros death. Shibami brings it all together in
a powerful & personal way.
In story, 2 Love songs, Fumi recalls old friend Haru and the man they both shared.She felt she was
communicating with her by drinking, the gap between drunk and not drunk. Mizuo her boyfriend arranges
a meeting with a psychic where she gets to talk to Haru & say her final goodbyes.
In the final story 3, Asleep, Terako an office worker becomes a mistress to an office manager at her old
work place as his wife is in hospital. She is recruited to a paid job where she sleeps next to paying
customers. She has ongoing thoughts about Shiori a friend who killed herself and worries about where
her relationship is going while watching summer fireflies
As a reader you will meet some strong characters, learn about loves, relationships and difficulties
encountered. All the stories are set in Japan and you will feel the impact of culture seeping in to color
each story. Human stories with deep insights that explore relationships, people, life and the complexities
that bind us all.

Book Review - Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto