Meredith's Challenge 2.0

52 books, one year. Stay tuned for more details.

Friday, February 10, 2006

2.4 Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

This book was wildly popular in Japan. Like crazy nuts, everybody and their mother read it. I know, I know, that means absolutely nothing, right? And just in case, you didn't know, I am a literary snob. However, this did win the author multiple book prizes which is pretty impressive. But, I think that once again, I have been sucker punched by the book prize gods. Or it could be that the translator just did a piss poor job, which probably is the case.

I remember learning about the responsibilities of a literature translator and. The delicate balance of trying to keep the author's voice, while at the same time making the story comprehensible to the reader. Kitchen has sentences that lead nowhere, a strange shallow emotional pseudo-deepness, and weird grammar (especially missing commas, which irritated me to no end). Get a danged copy editor who does their job. Gah!

The collection itself is two novellas, both of young-ish women who've ended up with dead relatives, lovers and/or friends. I didn't really find either of the stories very interesting but that could be that Japanese culture isn't that accessible to me. I don't know how far that argument lets a boring novel off the hook though because there are stories that I like that aren't American/British/Irish/Canadian/Australian that I really enjoy, like Anna Karenina, Like Water for Chocolate, almost anything by Ibsen (I really did have to reach for those though, I think my other goal this year should be to read more non-English language books). Perhaps this "proof" isn't working out so well for me... Any recommendations to help me learn more about the world around us?

Also, there will definitely be a slow down over here. "Yeah, what else is new?", you might ask. Well, the boy and I found out that we have to move like ASAP! because our landlords, who I used to like, decided to sell the place. Stressful much? Maybe next week I get to pack all my belongings and enjoy a frenzy of house cleaning! Or maybe, just maybe, the end of March will find us living in a box, it has to be under a tree though so the fuzz can have dead leaves to eat. And as the cherry on top, all of our romantical V-day festivities are permanently on hold, which, yeah so what it's a stupid fakey holiday anyway, but I am a sucker who does enjoy the occasional flowers and chocolates like anybody else.

Wow! What a disjointed thought process this was!


  • At 10:49 AM, Blogger shuna fish lydon said…

    Although that first paragraph is wondrous. I had it on my answering machine about 14 years ago. when I first began professionally cooking.

  • At 10:50 AM, Blogger shuna fish lydon said…

    Although that first paragraph is wondrous. I had it on my answering machine when I first began cooking @ 14 years ago.


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