Kitchen – Banana Yoshimoto

Banana Yoshimoto (aka Mahoko Yoshimoto) is one of the most famous contemporary Japanese authors alive. She got the name Banana because she thinks it’s cute and she loves banana flowers. She gets her inspiration from Stephen King (not the horror novels), Truman Capote and Isaac Bashevis Singer. Banana Yoshimoto, who has a simple life and tries to keep her life as secret as possible, got her place among my favourite authors with her novel Kitchen. I like it a lot because I’m a huge fan of Japanese literature, nonetheless, Kitchen is a peaceful book that everyone should read.


Kitchen caught my eye with its pink cover at first. I thought it would be a very light and cosy read for women to read. Well, it is all that but also much more. You’ll be reading about the harshness of life, mothers, love and of course kitchen, and you get to meet with delightful characters. You can read in a sitting because it is tiny. That is the only thing that disappointed me. 

Kitchen - Banana Yoshimoto

A favourite place at home

The stories and characters draw you into the book as soon as you start reading. The narrative is exquisite, and Yoshimoto knows how to capture the essentials of the human soul. When the book was over, I felt like I was drinking a glass of wine against the sea in the evening of a beautiful day. It’s a book that has the power to make you happy, both literary and literally! And the name Kitchen? For some reason, we find specific places in our homes more relaxing than others and enjoy our time there. The main character’s favourite place is the kitchen, like mine. We both think that kitchens tell a lot about a home and the people living in it. This alone was enough for me to love the book and Yoshimoto.

Be sure to read this book if you are most comfortable in the kitchen as well. Even if you think that kitchen is your least favourite place, you have to read this cause you don’t need any excuse to read this award-winning little book. Enjoy!


About the book: Kitchen

Kitchen juxtaposes two tales about mothers, transsexuality, bereavement, kitchens, love and tragedy in contemporary Japan. It is a startlingly original first work by Japan’s brightest young literary star and is now a cult film. 

When Kitchen was first published in Japan in 1987 it won two of Japan’s most prestigious literary prizes, climbed its way to the top of the bestseller lists, then remained there for over a year and sold millions of copies. Banana Yoshimoto was hailed as a young writer of great talent and great passion whose work has quickly earned a place among the best of modern literature, and has been described as ‘the voice of young Japan’ by the Independent on Sunday. 

About the author: Banana Yoshimoto

Banana Yoshimoto was born in 1964. She is the author of Kitchen, N.P., Lizard, Amrita, Asleep and Goodbye Tsugumi. Her writing has won numerous prizes around the world.

Kitchen - Banana Yoshimoto

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

Japanese Literature – A Literary Journey

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