The Lake (Banana Yoshimoto) – book, fiction


While The Lake shows off many of the features that have made Banana Yoshimoto famous—a cast of vivid and quirky characters, simple yet nuanced prose, a tight plot with an upbeat pace—it’s also one of the most darkly mysterious books she’s ever written.
It tells the tale of a young woman who moves to Tokyo after the death of her mother, hoping to get over her grief and start a career as a graphic artist. She finds herself spending too much time staring out her window, though … until she realizes she’s gotten used to seeing a young man across the street staring out his window, too.
They eventually embark on a hesitant romance, until she learns that he has been the victim of some form of childhood trauma. Visiting two of his friends who live a monastic life beside a beautiful lake, she begins to piece together a series of clues that lead her to suspect his experience may have had something to do with a bizarre religious cult. . . .
With its echoes of the infamous, real-life Aum Shinrikyo cult (the group that released poison gas in the Tokyo subway system), The Lake unfolds as the most powerful novel Banana Yoshimoto has written. And as the two young lovers overcome their troubled past to discover hope in the beautiful solitude of the lake in the country- side, it’s also one of her most moving.

I all honesty, I think what I liked most about this book was the cover. Not that it was a bad book. It was just extremely predictable. It’s told from Chihiro’s perspective, and she seems a little depressing to me. She seems to go on and on about how nothing lasts forever. Then there’s 2 characters, Mino and Chii, who seem a little out of place to me. It all seems realistic aside from those two characters, siblings, that may as well live in the middle of no where considering how secluded they live. Chii is bedridden and asleep pretty much all the time, but is apparently psychic and talks through her brother telepathically. Nakajima however, was fairly interesting. I think the part I liked most about the book itself (of the story that is), was near the end when Nakajima finally told Chihiro about himself and his past. I think if the entire book was told from his perspective, I probably would have liked it more, even if it was predictable.


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