I finished this book about a week ago, and I’m still flummoxed. It’s short, only 152 pages, and is actually comprised of two stories: ‘Kitchen’ and ‘Moonlight Shadow.’ I didn’t particularly care for it, but I am at a loss to explain why. So I can’t really call this a review … just a few thoughts:
- The blurb on the back cover calls Kitchen Yoshimoto’s “best-loved book … an enchantingly original and deeply affecting book about mothers, love, tragedy, and the power of the kitchen and home in the lives of a pair of free-spirited young women in contemporary Japan.”
- Kitchen is translated from the Japanese. The writing comes across as unsophisticated, almost juvenile. I suppose it could be the result of poor translation.
- Both stories deal with grief and loss. While I could understand the grief characters felt after losing loved ones, the language felt flat and neutral. And in ‘Kitchen,’ I knew the kitchen itself, and food, were supposed to be important but the prose didn’t convey the sensuality and power of food and cooking.
I’m taking part in an online conversation about this book and held off for a while hoping to get some new insights that would help me better appreciate this book. It hasn’t happened, and I’m ready to move on.