Life After Death

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto ★★★½

Two short stories about young women coping with grief.
Kitchen is about a student who finds herself completely alone following the death of her grandmother. She is taken in by a boy and his unusual mother, and their relationship, as well as the time she spends cooking, help her move forward. The second story, Moonlight Shadow, is about a girl who has recently lost her first love to a traffic accident and how her relationship with the young man’s brother, along with an encounter with a strange woman help her move toward closure. One might think that these themes would make for gloomy reading, but the surprise is that Yoshimoto’s writing is at once poetic and fresh, grounded in a zen-like appreciation for taking things as they are, and the hopeful message that embracing difficulty brings it’s own rewards. Inspiring.


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