About N.P. by Banana Yoshimoto: In N.P., Banana Yoshimoto’s enchanting novel of uncanny subtlety, style, magic, and mystery, a celebrated Japanese writer has committed suicide, leaving behind a collection of stories written in English. But the book, itself titled N.P., may never be published in his native Japan: each translator who takes up the ninety-eighth story chooses death too—including Kazami Kano’s boyfriend, Shoji. Haunted by Shoji’s death, Kazami is inexorably drawn to three young people whose lives are intimately bound to the late writer and his work. Over the course of an astonishing summer, she will discover the truth behind the ninety-eighth story—and she will come to believe that “everything that had happened was shockingly beautiful, enough to make you crazy.”
My two centsThe book in one sentence: Kazami is unexplainably drawn into a web of death, mystery linked to the translation of a collection of stories written in English, N.P.
Who would you recommend it to: Fans of Haruki Murakami; those who actually enjoy getting the uncomfortable chill of someone possibly watching you.
OK bits: You just never know what to expect. Yoshimoto has the same eerie otherworldly quality as Murakami. The writing is minimalist. The entire story quite short. But it delves into so many themes – love, incest, lust, obsession, insanity – you’ll shake your head in disbelief.
Boring bits: I think this is too short to get remotely boring. You’ll want to find out what the heck this 98th story is all about, and keep asking why, why, why?
Verdict: My first Banana Yoshimoto. It didn’t disappoint. I will definitely be looking out for more of her work. You should try her too!
Everything that had happened was shockingly beautiful enough to make you crazy.
The Official Banana Yoshimoto Site: http://www.yoshimotobanana.com