The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto, translated by Michael Emmerich


The Lake - Banana YoshimotoThe Lake was much more enjoyable than I thought it would be. I didn’t really know what to expect. As usual, I read the description when I first chose to put the book on my TBR and didn’t bother looking at it again when I sat down to read it. What’s the point, I already knew I was interested. I have to say that I truly enjoy the surprises that has been giving me.

The book is about two broken young people and the barriers they’ve built around themselves. It’s one of those books that really makes me appreciate WIT Month and the new points of view that it has been bringing with it. Had the book been written by an author in the US, it probably would have involved one broken person with barriers and one broken person with no barriers and the no-barrier person smashing everything the barrier person has until they relent. US books are kind of violent that way sometimes. But not this book. These barriers are in place and they aren’t downright smashed. Instead, the method with which they are tried is more subtle. This was also not yet another story about a manic pixie dream girl (or boy) coaxing a member of the opposite sex out of their depression or any other form of extrovert convincing an introvert that there’s something wrong with their introversion.

It’s a beautiful story that I have fallen in love with for it’s quiet little moments and realizations. I appreciated the way that Chihiro and Nakajima come together and the way they respect each other’s boundaries, the way both entreated the other to come out of their shells without actually asking for it. I liked their comfortable discomfort, if that makes sense. It’s in their brokenness. There was something about the way their embraced their brokenness rather than ran away from it, although some might say they were running. I never felt that way about them. They just knew who they were and who they weren’t.

The idea behind the lake itself was interesting, and I won’t spoil it. I’ll just say that I spent some time wondering when we were going to get to where the title came from and it came in increments. The first time I saw the lake, I didn’t get it’s significance. Eventually it was made clear.

All together, I loved The Lake and look forward to checking out more work from Banana Yoshimoto. Every time I think about the characters in the days since I finished it, I get a wispy nostalgic feeling already. It was just adorable. I borrowed this ebook from the library, but it can be purchased worldwide. Click on the cover for Booklikes options or add to Goodreads for later.

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