The New York Daily News has called Asleep "enchanting, surreal . . . Yoshimoto brings readers to another powerful, atmospheric place". Demonstrating again the artful simplicity and depth of her vision, Banana Yoshimoto reestablishes her place as a writer of international stature in a book that may be her most delightful since Kitchen.In Asleep, Yoshimoto spins the stories of three young women bewitched into a spiritual sleep. One, mourning for a lost lover, finds herself sleepwalking at night. Another, who has embarked on a relationship with a man whose wife is in a coma, finds herself suddenly unable to stay awake. A third finds her sleep haunted by a woman against whom she was once pitted in a love triangle.Sly and mystical as a ghost story, with a touch of Kafkaesque surrealism, Asleep is an enchanting new book from one of the best writers in contemporary international fiction.
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Banana Yoshimoto's novels have established her as one of Japan's finest and most popular writers, and an acclaimed and best-selling literary star all over the world. Now she delivers three novellas that develop her sophisticated, resonant, and artfully simple vision, in Asleep, a book that is already an international best-seller and may be her most charming since Kitchen.
Banana Yoshimoto has a nuanced and magical ability to animate the lives of her young characters, and here she spins the stories of three women, all bewitched into a spiritual sleep. One, mourning for a lost lover, finds herself sleepwalking at night. Another, who has embarked on a relationship with a man whose wife is in a coma, finds herself suddenly unable to stay awake. A third finds her sleep haunted by another woman whom she was once pitted against in a love triangle. Sly and mystical as a ghost story, with a touch of Kafkaesque surrealism, Asleep is an enchanting new book from one of the best writers of contemporary international fiction.
"Asleep examines the numbness and fatigue that often come with pain and transition. It is to Yoshimoto's credit, in this artful translation by Michael Emmerich, that she is able to articulate those physical and emotional states that are more often than not aligned with silence."--The New York Times Book Review
"Ms. Yoshimoto's writing is lucid, earnest and disarming, as emotionally observant as Jane Smiley's, as fluently readable as Anne Tyler's."--The New York Times
"Banana Yoshimoto is a master storyteller.... The sensuality is subtle, masked, and extraordinarily powerful. The language is deceptively simple."--Chicago Tribune
"Earnest, deep, and unaffected.... A sure and lyrical writer.... Yoshimoto transforms the trite into the essential. This is her odd and charming art."--The New Yorker
"A master storyteller with a lot of heart."--Harper's Bazaar
"Yoshimoto hits some of the same notes that a previous generation's literary masters (say, Kawabata or Tanizaki) might sound, and yet the effect seems artless, spontaneous and wonderfully fresh."--Los Angeles Times Book Review
Banana Yoshimoto was born in 1964 and lives in Tokyo. She is the author of Kitchen, N.P., Lizard, and Amrita. Her writing has won numerous prizes around the world.
Michael Emmerich is also the translator of First Snow on Fuji by Kawabata Yasunari. He currently lives in Kyoto, Japan.From Kirkus Reviews:
Three intense, otherworldly novellas, each about a young woman for whom sleep is not a state of rest but an indication of spiritual malaise: the latest from Japan's ever-popular Yoshimoto (Amrita, 1997, etc.).In the first, Night and Night's Travelers, college-aged Shibami still reels from the accidental death of her older brother Yoshihiro, but her pain seems pale in comparison to that of her cousin Mari, who was Yoshihiro's lover and confidante. Wholly incapacitated by his death, Mari moved into Shibami's house and Yoshihiro's room, becoming a part of his family for nearly a year until her grief subsided. When she appears outside Shibami's window one snowy night, however, barefoot and wraithlike, the time has come for the truth about Yoshihiro's other girlfriend, the American Sarah, with whom he moved to Boston and without whom he returned to Japan. Voyage to the House of Sleep charts a different course through grief as a hard-drinking woman, before she plunges into sleep, hears eerie music--sounds that her boyfriend identifies as a call from the dead. Sure enough, a woman the drinker once knew as a rival for the affections of another man has died--drunk herself to death, in fact--and, with the help of her boyfriend and a midget medium, the two women make contact, if only to explain that although they treated each other abominably, they were also friends and could have been more than just that. The title story features a woman who sleeps more and more in an effort to escape from joblessness, the death of her closest friend, and the fact that her boyfriend's wife is in a coma, unlikely to awaken. Only a dreamlike encounter with that wife, who tells her to go out and get a job, frees her from her lethargy and allows her to resume a normal life.Astute, darkly atmospheric, and charged with the uncanny: Yoshimoto's best in quite a while. -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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