The Lake

The Lake

Book - 2011
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A young woman moves to Tokyo after the death of her mother, hoping to overcome her grief and start a career as a graphic artist. But she spends her time staring out of the window, only to realise that there is a young man across the street staring out of his window too. They eventually embark on a hesitant romance, until she learns that he is the victim of a childhood trauma. Visiting two of his friends who live a monastic life beside a beautiful lake, she begins to piece together clues that reveal that his troubled past includes a bizarre religious cult.
Publisher: Brooklyn, NY : Melville House, c2011
ISBN: 9781933633770
Branch Call Number: YOS
Characteristics: 188 p. ;,23 cm
Additional Contributors: Emmerich, Michael


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Dec 14, 2019

this is the first book by Banana I’ve read, I’m surprised it took me this long to find her! Great book with slight bits magical realism without going overboard. eerie undertones that keep you engaged. Quite excited to check out the rest of her work!

Banana is back and as charming as ever, though this new novel is tinged with an eerie melancholy that really moved me. Chohiro is a young artist eking out a living as a somewhat successful muralist in Tokyo. Her relationship with Nakajima, a strangely awkward young man who lives across the road, both delights and perplexes her. However he has a secret, and it seems that something terrible happened in the past, something he cannot bring himself to speak or even think about. It’s not until they travel to a little house by a small lake that the truth begins to reveal itself. This is a book about damaged people, the tangible presence of the past, and the importance of sharing and hope to transcend it. The prose is simple yet luminous, and the characters are vivid even when they are elusive. Despite the tone of sadness, this novel has a strong heart of optimism in the gently dauntless Chihiro. (submitted by JW)

Jun 15, 2016

I think this book would be closer to the Japanese people because of customs, way of life and view of life described therein.
It looks like that the author tries to put too much drama and mystery in something that in reality is not as mysterious or secret or intriguing.

May 21, 2015

The most recent book by the award winning writer Yoshimoto whose main themes are “the exhaustion of young Japanese in contemporary Japan” and “the way in which terrible experiences shape a person’s life”; and this one is a love story and mystery based on exactly that. While it built up slowly on the relationship of a pair of young adults, it ended with a secret that I knew was coming but not what I had imagined.

Dec 22, 2014

Painfully reflective novel that moves at a slow pace as its characters come to terms with grief, trauma, and the kindling of trust.

Apr 12, 2013

lyrical, seamless at first, like a lovely poem, then the story takes over and is a bit dull and inevitable. a love story, two young people, not very earth shattering revelations treated as profound.
not riveting

"When pitched just right, this style feels honest and unpretentious, but when the prose goes loose, it can easily turn slack and sentimental. Its casual deftness thickens into heavy-handed cliche or overly simplistic strokes of assertion. The plot of The Lake is often bogged down by ruminations that meander into overly familiar territories -- emotional zones explored in so many novels, perhaps, that they give the sense of having been too many times trodden. We encounter the signature pleasures of a Yoshimoto novel, but they feel more diffuse here -- more vaguely drawn, and less frequent -- than in her strongest novels." - Leslie Jamison, San Francisco Chronicle

Dec 11, 2011

This story is like a fairy tale made up off the cuff and told night by night over several weeks, with bits that end up going nowhere. I found the main character, Chihiro really sympathetic but her relationship with Nakajima which drives the plot, or as much of it as there is, didn't really grab me & I just couldn't warm to him as a character. You keep reading, and want to finish the book, but you ask yourself why!? Mysterious.


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May 21, 2015

on dad: I guess my mom was all he had—the one flower that smelled like freedom. He was careful never to let outside business intrude on the spaces he shared with my mom. He made it seem like the man he was at home was who he really wanted to be. Whenever he came to spend time with us, he threw himself into household tasks: fixing the roof, puttering in the garden, going out to eat with my mom, checking my homework, tuning up my bike.

May 21, 2015

on mom: One was sociable and upbeat, a woman of the world who lived in the moment and seemed like a really cool person to be around; the other was extremely delicate, like a big, soft flower nodding gently on its stem, looking as if the slightest breeze would scatter its petals. The flowerlike side wasn’t easy to recognize, and my mom, always eager to please, tried hard to cultivate the feisty, easygoing side of her personality. Watering it, rather than the flower, with lots of love, fertilizing it with people’s approval.

May 21, 2015

on the pair:
Here we were, two ridiculously fragile people, sliding along on a very thin layer of ice all the time, each of us ready to slip and take the other down at any moment, the most unsteady of couples—and yet I believed what I had said. It would be all right.
There are other interesting quotes at goodreads - the translation, easy read for ESL Japanese youth readers - may not do justice to the author's original spirit:

May 21, 2015

on mother and daughter:
My mom spoke to me. “You know, Chihiro, darling—all it takes is one little wrong step and you end up feeling frustrated your whole life, like me. If you’re always angry, always yelling at people, ultimately that just means you depend on them.”

All throughout my childhood, whenever my eyes fluttered open at night, my mom would be there, giving my bare stomach a gentle pat, rearranging my pajamas, spreading the blanket over me. How many times had I seen her do this? This is what it means to be loved … when someone wants to touch you, to be tender … My body still remembers that feeling, even now.

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CHRISTOPHER MAK thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over


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