Cover image for Asleep
Title:
Asleep
Author:
Yoshimoto, Banana, 1964-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Shirakawa yofune. English
Publication Information:
New York : Grove Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
177 pages ; 20 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
Night and night's travelers -- Love songs -- Asleep.
Reading Level:
920 Lexile.
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780802116697
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

The New York Daily News has called Asleep "enchanting, surreal . . . Yoshimoto brings readers to another powerful, atmospheric place". Demonstrating again the artful simplicity and depth of her vision, Banana Yoshimoto reestablishes her place as a writer of international stature in a book that may be her most delightful since Kitchen.

In Asleep, Yoshimoto spins the stories of three young women bewitched into a spiritual sleep. One, mourning for a lost lover, finds herself sleepwalking at night. Another, who has embarked on a relationship with a man whose wife is in a coma, finds herself suddenly unable to stay awake. A third finds her sleep haunted by a woman against whom she was once pitted in a love triangle.

Sly and mystical as a ghost story, with a touch of Kafkaesque surrealism, Asleep is an enchanting new book from one of the best writers in contemporary international fiction.


Author Notes

Banana Yoshimoto, 1964 - Novelist Banana Yoshimoto was born Mahoko Yoshimoto on July 24, 1964 in Tokyo, Japan. She is the daughter of poet and commentator Yoshimoto Ryumei, who had an impact on the radical student movement of the late 1960's. She attended Tokyo's Nihon University, where she studied creative writing and won a faculty award for her 1987 graduation novel "Moonlight Shadow."

While working as a waitress, she took moments out of her day to write a novel and, at the age of 24, the result was "Kitchen" (1988), which is the story of a lonely woman who moves her bed into the kitchen, finding comfort in the humming of the refrigerator. She also wrote "Pineapple Pudding" and "Fruit Basket," which were both bestsellers. Her novel "Lizard" was dedicated to the memory of the late rocker Kurt Cobain and the novel "Long Night of Marika/Bali Dream Diary" (1996) was considered a flop.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Yoshimoto, who became a literary sensation in Japan when her first novel, Kitchen, was published in 1988, has since established a reputation for writing short yet complex, powerful, and beautifully written tales. Her latest U.S. release is a slim volume consisting of three novellas, each telling a somewhat mystical tale of haunted slumber. In the first story, a woman mourning a dead lover finds herself sleepwalking; in the next, a woman involved in a relationship with a man, whose wife is in a coma, realizes that she is unable to remain awake; and in the third, a woman finds her dreams inhabited by a dead woman, her former rival in a love triangle. The stories flow easily and quietly from one to the next, and while they have a lyrical, almost poetic, quality, they remain gripping, dramatic, intense, and real. This collection is delicately tinged with sadness and lovely to read, and Yoshimoto's fervent American fan base will clamor for it. --Kathleen HughesAdult Books Young adult recommendations in this issue have been contributed by the Books for Youth editorial staff and by reviewers GraceAnne A. DeCandido, Patty Engelmann, Sally Estes, Diane Tixier Herald, Roberta Johnson, Leone McDermott, Karen Simonetti, Candace Smith, and Linda Waddle. Titles recommended for teens are marked with the following symbols: YA, for books of general YA interest; YA/C, for books with particular curriculum value; YA/L, for books with a limited teenage audience; YA/M, for books best suited to mature teens.


Publisher's Weekly Review

Writing in her customary spare yet luminous style, Yoshimoto's latest work consists of three short novellas set in nameless contemporary Japanese cities, each one narrated by a young Japanese woman who has been frozen into a temporary literal or psychic sleep as a result of trauma. Although we meet each woman during a hiatus in her life, these periods are not tragic or ominous, but merely pauses for recovery; part of the charm of the book is the characters' lack of fuss or self-importance. Although each is sufferingÄone in mourning for her beloved brother's death, one fragile at the end of a painful affair and one deeply involved with a man whose wife is in a comaÄeach woman sees herself as an incidental or supporting character, in refreshing contrast to Western self-involvement. The characters' poise means that they calmly accept dreamlike or supernatural events. It feels utterly right and logical when Shibami meets her lost brother in a strange encounter with his son; when Fumi, with the help of a midget psychic, makes contact with Haru, the woman she had so bitterly resented when they shared the same abusive lover; or when Terako begins to share the deep sleep of her lover's comatose wife. These women share a kind of observant detachment, creating a deceptively casual style; while one does not particularly notice the language, words are used as in a haiku, with as much emphasis on the silences between them as on the space they take up. Especially appealing are the relationships between the cool but very likable female characters. At the core of each novella are two deeply attuned young women, and part of the discovery in each story has to do with the narrator's realization of the importance of this female connection. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Sleep, love, and death serve as the central themes for each of the three short stories in Yoshimoto's (Amrita) latest work. Yoshimoto narrates each piece from the perspective of a strong, central female protagonist. In "Night and Night's Travelers," Shibami tells the story of her sleepwalking cousin, Mari, who is mourning the death of her lover (Shibami's brother, Yoshihiro). In "Voyage to the House of Sleep," Fumi describes her difficulties with Haru, a woman with whom she had once shared a male lover who, although now deceased, haunts her in her sleep. And, in the title work, readers meet Terako, a woman with an unusual penchant for sleep, who must deal with the recent death of her best friend, Shiori, while at the same time struggling with her trying relationship with her boyfriend (a married man whose wife is in a coma). The writing is introspective and, although simple, extremely thought-provoking as Yoshimoto takes her readers on a journey in search of absolution for each of her characters. Followers of Yoshimoto's work will want to read this one. A good selection for academic libraries as well as Asian fiction collections in larger public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/00.]--Shirley N. Quan, Orange Cty. P.L., Santa Ana, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.