The Lake

The Lake

by Banana Yoshimoto, Michael Emmerich
3.7 23

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Overview

The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto

A major literary sensation is back with a quietly stunning tour de force about the redemptive power of love.

While The Lake shows off many of the features that have made Banana Yoshimoto famous—a cast of vivid and quirky characters, simple yet nuanced prose, a tight plot with an upbeat pace—it’s also one of the most darkly mysterious books she’s ever written.

It tells the tale of a young woman who moves to Tokyo after the death of her mother, hoping to get over her grief and start a career as a graphic artist. She finds herself spending too much time staring out her window, though ... until she realizes she’s gotten used to seeing a young man across the street staring out his window, too.

They eventually embark on a hesitant romance, until she learns that he has been the victim of some form of childhood trauma. Visiting two of his friends who live a monastic life beside a beautiful lake, she begins to piece together a series of clues that lead her to suspect his experience may have had something to do with a bizarre secret from his past. . . .

With echoes of real life events, such as the Aum Shinrikyo cult (the group that released poison gas in the Tokyo subway system) and the kidnapping of Japanese citizens by North Korea, The Lake unfolds as the most powerful novel Banana Yoshimoto has written. And as the two young lovers overcome their troubled past to discover hope in the beautiful solitude of the lake in the countryside, it’s also one of her most moving.


From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781935554691
Publisher: Melville House Publishing
Publication date: 05/03/2011
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 546,416
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Banana Yoshimoto wrote her first novel, Kitchen, while working as a waitress at a golf-course restaurant. It sold millions of copies worldwide, and led to a phenomenon dubbed by Western journalists as “Banana-mania.” Yoshimoto has gone on to be one of the biggest-selling and most distinguished writers in Japanese history, winning numerous awards for her work. The Lake is her thirteenth book of fiction.

Michael Emmerich
has translated numerous books by Banana Yoshimoto, and is also known for his translations of Nobel Prize-winner Yasunari Kawabata.


From the Hardcover edition.

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The Lake 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is haunting. It's one of those that, on the surface, is deceptively simple but that stays with you and invades your thoughts and dreams when you're not reading it. And since it's a relatively short book, it requires you to savor it, linger over passages that seem so common place and uncomplicated but that hit you like a truck when you let it sink in. What's it about? Ostensibly about two characters who have both experienced loss and, through an odd sort of courtship, find each other, learn how to love each other, and then help each other deal with grief. What the book does so well is show the organic process of building a relationship and overcoming grief. As in life, there are seldom quick answers to knotty issues like love and loss. What this book does so well is show how working through them is a process, how falling in love is a process, how coming to terms with pain is a process, and that it is those quiet, simple moments that we should recognize and revel in their power.
one_million_monkeys More than 1 year ago
I read this on my NOOK as part of the "Japan Literature Challenge 5" and absolutely loved it. It started slowly, but then I became completely mesmerized by the strange love story and the odd but wonderfully human characters. I highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A beautiful unconventional love story about two damaged and fragile youths in the prime of their lives falling in love. I thought this novel, though short, was absolutely amazing and a truly moving read. Those two below that thought it was boring have no idea what they have missed. I would recommend this to absolutely any and everyone. 4.7 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sleighanne More than 1 year ago
**A portion of all sales of this book will be donated to the Japan Disaster Relief Fund** Brief Synopsis: It tells the tale of a young woman who moves to Tokyo after the death of her mother, hoping to get over her grief and start a career as a graphic artist. She finds herself spending too much time staring out her window, though ... until she realizes she’s gotten used to seeing a young man across the street staring out his window, too. They eventually embark on a hesitant romance, until she learns that he has been the victim of some form of childhood trauma. Visiting two of his friends who live a monastic life beside a beautiful lake, she begins to piece together a series of clues that lead her to suspect his experience may have had something to do with a bizarre religious cult. . . . My Thoughts: I have read one other Banana Yoshimoto novel for a Non-Western literature class, and I loved it. Naturally, I was excited when I got this from NetGalley. I was not disappointed at all. Both Chihiro and Nakajima have suffered loss in their lives. Both are now motherless and their early family life left something to be desired. But, as they begin seeing more of each other, Chihiro learns that Nakajima has dealt with some incredibly painful things; things that she herself can not begin to understand. Nakajima is different and unlike anyone that she has ever met before. She has fallen in love with him before she even realizes it for herself and she reflects on when she realized it, and what made her love him. Of course, one of the things the reader wants to know most is, what happened to Nakajima? And although we don't find out until the very end, it is worth the wait. The layout of this book was a little different that I'm used to. It has no chapters, but everything flows together pretty well. Sometimes when things are translated, you lost some things somewhere in between, but I didn't see that happen here. There were some passages that were so moving and so poignant that I re-read them several times. This is a novel about love, but not in the traditional sense. It's a lot deeper than I expected it to be, which is always a nice surprise. She has a minimalist style of writing, which makes it easier for certain things to come through, and you don't get lost as easily. I really liked this book. I thank Melville House for sending me this, and giving me the opportunity to read this. Its a short read, but very powerful and wonderful. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys minimalist literary works. I give this book a 4.25 out of 5!
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racheldevenishford More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I read it with a sense of breathlessness as each sentence drew me into the quiet rhythm of the next. Yoshimoto has an almost ethereal way of writing, of explaining things in spirals. Reading it feels like a dance. I love it when a writer can lead me into a place so different from my own, and in ever widening circles, explain it. I think Banana Yoshimoto does this. It is deceptively simple, it is Japanese, it is reserved and passionate. I highly recommend The Lake, but be aware that you are walking into a different kind of story telling.
EvaS More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It lingers in my mind. I keep thinking about the ending, which was a surprise.
dragonfly74 More than 1 year ago
I've read one other Banana Yoshimoto book and this is perhaps my favorite. It's different from Kitchen in that there is something almost mystical and eerie about it. You still get everything you want: her offbeat characters and clean, precise writing. It's just that in this book there is a disturbing backdrop of dark secrets, hidden lives and though these things are unsettling they set the stage for a unconventional love story that you won't soon forget. Interesting read to say the least.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
K_malinczak More than 1 year ago
Alright..this is another review I have been dreading, truthfully because I don't have a lot to say. And it's hard, because I hate when that happens. I feel like I'm doing the author a disservice. But here's the thing. This was a fairly short novel and to me it read more like a short story. Which would have been fine if I had been prepared for that going in. But I wasn't. This also the first Yoshimoto I have ever read and I did like it, but not as much as I thought I would. I'm going to try and articulate why. I like a certain amount of detail in my reading and I felt like that was lacking in The Lake. There were hardly any place descriptions and it was very hard to picture exactly what was going on. I know that doesn't matter to some people, but it matters to me. I also felt that there was an emotional disconnect. I didn't particularly care what happened to the characters, especially Nikajima, who I think the author intended me to have a lot of sympathy for. I just felt a complete lack of emotion for anything that was going on, and I found that to be a shame because the story had a great deal of potential. The idea of the plot and the summary of the story really drew me in and was what initially made me want to read the book. It sounded a bit scary and mysterious. Plus the cover is absolutely mesmerizing. I wish it had been as good as i thought it was going to be. The reason why I gave it three stars? I really enjoyed the writing style. I just wish it had been a little more detailed. She really does write beautifully. It's a very simple writing style, but manages to be quite poetic. And like I said, I really loved the plotline. I just feel the story would have been so much more if I felt emotionally invested in the characters, even if it was just a little bit. I am very interested in reading another Banana Yoshimoto though, and I have added a few of her books to my TBR list. Maybe I will have better luck with another book. I hope so, because I really appreciate what she was trying to do here.
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Katie Hutchins More than 1 year ago
Pointless, dry, boring. Waste of my time and money. I have no idea where all the rave reviews came from - I bought based on the reviews but now I just wish I could get my money back. Seriously a terrible book.
Jordan Scheibe More than 1 year ago
Not for me