Monday, April 09, 2007

Lizard...Banana Yoshimoto

Lizard..Banana Yoshimoto...Faber and Faber.1993.180 pages including afterwords.

I should have been forewarned by the gushing reviews on the back cover of this set of six short stories."Yoshimoto transforms the trite into the essential" (The New Yorker).Sorry trite is trite.Nor do the stories leave me with "a desire for more".(Times Literary Supplement).I found myself struggling to recall anything memorable after finishing the collection a week ago.
I thought the six stories felt forced.Slight.Chick lit.Murakami light in her flailing attempts at mysticism and spirituality..."He and I fit together so well,like the swirl on the yin/yang symbol-his tough resilence and my resilent toughness".(pg 120)
There were also annoying sentence constructions which may be the fault of the translator rather than wholly the fault of the author..."I use the word "frozen" because she moved with such fluidity that she almost appeared to be not moving at all"(p24)

If that wasnt enough there also seems overuse of certain adjectives throughout the stories for example the word "ample" as in "a sea of ample,waving bodies"(pg 24) and "ample breasts"(pg5). A slight digression but what are "ample breasts"?Enough or more than enough,plentiful,large breasts?Surely there are more suitable,original adjectives than ample.

Then again there are images that dont work or evoke anything for me but a sense of trying to hard."I had left the group, as a piece of ripe fruit falls from a tree and is swept away by the current of the river,and finally finds its proper place."(p152)
Despite re-reading this I still cant work out what the author wants to say or convey.The image of a woman as ripe fruit is hardly original either but where is her "proper place". Swept out to sea or did the ripe fruit sink to the bottom of the river?

Anyway in her afterword she said she had fun writing these stories.I wish I could say the same about reading them.

No comments: