Banana Yoshimoto (a pseudonymn; according to Yossarian, her real name is Maiko Yoshimoto) ) is a contemporary Japanese author. Several of her novels have been translated into English, including: She was quite a fad in late-eighties Japan, with the rise of "Bananamania", and her books were marketed aggressively overseas as well. That notwithstanding, her writing has a delicate, shoujo manga-like quality to it, the words on a page sometimes seem barely visible through a cold morning mist. Her books deal with love and loss in unconventional ways that are quite refreshing to a stupid romantic like me. I'm quite sure that her youth (as a person and a writer) has much to do with her style.

I've only read Kitchen and N.P., both of which are good, but my favorite story by her is the novella that appears at the end of Kitchen - "Moonlight Shadow". She has a flair for catching the supernatural in everyday life, and it shows.

She has weaknesses as a writer, though - since her characters are so innocent, it can be hard to take them seriously at times, and her situations seem a bit contrived. But what is an author but a person who contrives situations? This is my opinion, anyway. Read her books and decide for yourself.

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