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Read Banana Yoshimoto’s Kitchen. The book consists of a novella “Kitchen” and a short story “Moonlight Shadow.” Both are related by their themes of grief and mourning and the subject of…crossdressing. It is unfortunately translated from Japanese. The word choices were odd and bland, I felt, with much repetition. The two stories were interesting meditations on grief and moving through grief, but in addition to the artless word choices, I was distracted by the wild changes of mood exhibited by the main characters. From happy to near suicidal and back again in a matter of sentences. Is grief like that? Are moods like that? Granted, I have my swings, but usually I start out in the neighborhood of content and swing to grumpy. Euphoria to depressed doesn’t ring true to me.

I believe I picked up this book in the Tempe Library’s sale corner. I was intrigued by the pretty Japanese woman on the cover and the lightness of what I read on the first page. I was expecting something more lovely from this book, not in the subject matter, but in the telling of the stories. What I expected was not there.