The Lake - Banana Yoshimoto
Released May 2011
Melville Publishing House
Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth
A portion of the proceeds of Banana Yoshimoto's The Lake go to Japan Disaster Relief. That alone makes this a book readers should seriously consider purchasing because the lasting effects of the earthquake are ongoing and new earthquakes occur regularly even if the media doesn't offer as much coverage of that area now that the initial event has passed.
In The Lake readers meet Chihiro, a young woman who grieves the loss of her mother. Living in Tokyo and trying to establish herself as an artist, she soon spies a neighbor across the way and they form a romance that grows slowly. The woman realizes that Nakajima must have endured some traumautic event in his childhood, but she cannot figure out what it is or how she can help him move on. That is until he brings her to a friend's house on lake. There's she starts to unravel his past and is shocked to learn what really happened to him.
The Lake is a very short book of just 200 pages. It doesn't give a lot of time to really get to know the characters. By the time, I found them growing on me, the story was over. That said, the writing was very mellow and almost soothing. This isn't a story that rushes to the conclusion, it drifts merrily on its way throwing in surprises every now and then. That made the writing really stand out as being unique. As a result, I liked the story, but I can't say I loved it. Yet, I still think this is a story that will have people talking.