i have been kind of devouring short stories recently. it started with re-reading miranda july's no one belongs here more than you. miranda july has a very unique voice, and for anyone who has not come across her books, films or art, her website is a great place to begin to discover her view of the world. i found there that she had a recent connection to japan with an installation at the international triennale of art at yokohama 2008.
so, that's what got me started. i then moved on to graze the wonderful works of banana yoshimoto. lizard is a collection of short stories that explore time, healing and fate. and kitchen, i just finished. the main character in kitchen finds rest and sleep after her grandmother's death only when she lays down near the hum of the refrigerator. the concept that a kitchen can provide solace in a world that delivers grief after grief is a lovely one. kitchen is a story by an unusual storyteller, a story of losing yourself in bereavement and finding love in loss. and i do like the blurb from the New Yorker on the back cover of kitchen: '...Yoshimoto transforms the trite into the essential. This is her odd and charming art.'
the book cover designs featured here are from the faber and faber english language editions. the official banana yoshimoto website features excellent web design itself, in addition to cover shots of world wide editions - the covers of the french and czech editions of kitchen are great.