Review: Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

So, I finished reading this book in May. It’s the only book for Asian Lit Bingo that I finished in time to actually put on my bingo card. Then, I started writing this review at the end of June. I’m now finishing it. What the heck is wrong with me? (I mean, aside from the second half of the year being very busy.)

This is an amazing book. It’s a quiet book and a warm book and a heartbreaking book. It was really, really beautiful. The prose was really, really beautiful. It opens with narrator Mikage trying to figure out what to do next now that her Grandmother, who was the last of her family, has passed away. The utter sense of loss, both at the loss of her Grandmother and the loss of what one should be doing, felt so real. Mikage finds that she doesn’t want to leave the kitchen. She’s taken in by Yuichi, who knew and cared about her Grandmother, and Yuichi’s mother Eriko. As she gets her life back together, she spends a lot of time in that kitchen. She then quits school to work in a kitchen. There were so many kitchens in this book and they reminded me of many kitchens (like the one I was sitting in when I started this review and the one I’m sitting in now as I finish it).

Anyway, I loved this book, and I think if you like quiet books about life and love and loss, you’ll love this book, too.

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