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by Banana Yoshimoto

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Kazami, una joven estudiosa de literatura, investiga el misterio que rodea al libro de cuentos, titulado N.P, del escritor Sarao Takase. Poco a poco el lector va sintiendo la fascinación letal que ejerce la obra sobre quienes se acercan a estudiarla, en especial sobre sus traductores, uno de los cuales se quitó la vida después de traducir el


Kazami, una joven estudiosa de literatura, investiga el misterio que rodea al libro de cuentos, titulado N.P, del escritor Sarao Takase. Poco a poco el lector va sintiendo la fascinación letal que ejerce la obra sobre quienes se acercan a estudiarla, en especial sobre sus traductores, uno de los cuales se quitó la vida después de traducir el relato número noventa y ocho. En cuanto Kazami conoce en una fiesta a los hijos del escritor, detecta inmediatamente una estela de locura en los ojos de esos hermanos tiernamente incestuosos. Así es como ella se verá envuelta en un inextricable laberinto del que nacerá un amor salvaje y desenfrenado.

Editorial Reviews

Toronto Globe and Mail
Miraculous....[A] poignant achievement that draws its power from an atmosphere of earnestness—from that honesty of youth, untouched by cynicism....deceptively simple.
—Kathleen Byrne
Denver Post
The disturbing, ironic, relentless clarity of Kazami's voice casts a spell...
—Robert Johnson
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Japanese novelist Yoshimoto follows her well-received Kitchen with an offbeat, intriguing, but ultimately unsatisfying tale about incest, suicide and broken relationships. NP (after an old, sad song titled ``North Point'') is the name of a short-story collection published in America by celebrated emigre writer Sarao Takase. The book seems, as one character says, to be cursed: Takase committed suicide, as did three would-be Japanese translators. Four years after the death of her boyfriend, who was the last of these translators, narrator Kazami Kano becomes involved with Takase's children, the twins Saki and Otohiko, and Otohiko's girlfriend, the willowy, messed up Sui Minowa. All three of them are obsessed with NP and particularly one story about a man's affair with a young girl whom he later discovers is his daughter--a thinly veiled description of Takase's affair with Minowa. With the ghostly figure of Takase, the four young people make for a messy stew of incest, lust and obsession that is eventually brought to a head by Minowa's shattering discovery that she is pregnant by Otohiko. Yoshimoto weaves some lyrical writing and philosophical intimations of the hand of fate into her minimalist prose, but on balance this story and its narcissistic characters fail to evoke much sympathy. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Following her successful debut novel, Kitchen ( LJ 12/92), Yoshimoto again attempts to wrestle with contemporary themes that reflect a less tradition view of Japanese culture. The narrator, Kazami Kano, befriends the adult children of a famous short story writer, Sarao Takase, who commits suicide and leaves behind an unpublished story that tells of his affair with his stepdaughter, Sui. Kazami becomes deeply entangled with Sui, who is living with Takase's son, Otohiko. Sui's psychological obsession with death and her destructive behavior culminates in a failed attempt on Kazami's life as part of a love suicide pact. Despite Yoshimoto's simple yet effective style and the challenging themes of incest, religion, and lesbianism, the youthful characters seem too wooden to allow the story to develop successfully. Not required for most collections.-- David A. Berona, Westbrook Coll. Lib., Portland, Me.
Donna Seaman
"Kitchen" (1993) was a surprise hit last year for young Tokyo author Yoshimoto, so expectations will be high for this taut little melodrama. Yoshimoto has a distinctively pop, bemused, and telegraphic writing style. Her new novel's enigmatic title, "NP", stands for "North Point," a sad old song that was a favorite of a writer named Sarao Takese, who used it as the title of a collection of 97 stories. After his suicide, a 98th story surfaces and becomes, or at least is rumored to be, the catalyst for two more suicides. Those deaths, and the 98th story's incestuous theme, set the fateful tone for several tense little romances. The narrator, a pretty young woman named Kazami, is amusing, sensitive, and high-strung. She becomes fascinated with Sarao Takese's children: the twins, Saki and Otohiko, and Sui, their half sister and, problematically, Otohiko's lover. Kazami finds herself attracted both to Sui, which surprises her, since she has never been in love with a woman before, and to Otohiko. Moments of telepathy and extravagant behavior lend a kooky air of mysticism and spontaneity to the proceedings and deepen our wonder at the dangers and idiosyncrasies of love. Yoshimoto's fans won't be disappointed.
Kirkus Reviews
Japan's leading pop novelist follows her successful debut (Kitchen, 1993) with an ambitious novel of darker themes—incest, suicide, and the supernatural—that recalls more classic Japanese fiction. The narrator, a twentysomething translator named Kazami, was once the lover of the famous translator Shoji, who committed suicide shortly after completing his translation of the 98th story by the author of NP—the title of the volume of 97 short stories written by a middle-aged Japanese writer, Sarao Takase, who also committed suicide shortly after writing the 98th story. Since another translator of this story has also committed suicide, the story—about a father who abandons his family, leads a wild life, then seduces a woman who turns out to be his daughter—has acquired an understandably sinister reputation. Yoshimoto's novel begins as Kazami, troubled by mysterious intimations of danger and still mourning her dead love, meets up with Saki and Otochiko, adult children of NP's author. The three, who have much in common, including unhappy childhoods, become friends, and Saki and Kazami grow especially close. But then Kazami has a startling encounter with the enigmatic but very attractive Sui. Sui is also a daughter of NP's author—as well as the former mistress of translator Shoji—and the real-life inspiration for the 98th story. Currently the lover of half-brother Otochiko, she is guilt-ridden and grieving to the point that she and Otochiko frequently discuss the possibility of a "love suicide." But as the summer progresses, the four find ways—some dramatic, some banal—of expiating their feelings for the past and one another; and Kazami, a realsurvivor, now appreciates that "everything that had happened was shockingly beautiful, enough to make you crazy." A contemporary, hip treatment of a potentially lurid plot makes for a read that nonetheless resonates with echoes of the past. Offbeat but sound. (First printing of 50,000)

Product Details

Grupo Planeta
Publication date:
Volumen independiente , #11
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867 KB

Meet the Author

Banana Yoshimoto (Tokio, 1964) estudió literatura en la Universidad de Nihon. Con Kitchen (Andanzas 151 y Fábula 17), su primera novela, ganó el Newcomer Writers Prize en 1987, cuando todavía era una estudiante universitaria, y un año después se le concedía por la misma obra el premio literario Izumi Kyoka. Entre otros galardones, ha recibido en Italia el prestigioso Premio Scanno. Yoshimoto es ya autora de una dilatada pero exquisita obra compuesta de ensayos, novelas como N.P. (Andanzas 217 y Fábula 263), Amrita (Andanzas 481 y Fábula 263) y Tsugumi (Andanzas 653), y el libro de relatos Sueño profundo (Andanzas 591 y Maxi 011/1). Desde 1991, año en que Tusquets Editores publicó Kitchen, Yoshimoto se ha convertido, junto con Haruki Murakami, en una de las voces más prestigiosas de la literatura japonesa actual. En Recuerdos de un callejón sin salida la autora aborda, con el estilo prístino que la caracteriza, temas como el desencanto, la amistad o el amor, encarnados en personajes que buscan, en la plácida cotidianidad de los lazos afectivos, la fuerza para seguir viviendo.

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