Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto


I listened to the unabridged audio version of Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto. This is my second read written by Banana Yoshimoto and I must say that her writing style is unique and distinct! In fact, Banana Yoshimoto's writing style is described as follows on Wikipedia:
Yoshimoto says that her two main themes are “the exhaustion of young Japanese in contemporary Japan” and “the way in which terrible experiences shape a person’s life”.

Her works describe the problems faced by youth, urban existentialism, and teenagers trapped between imagination and reality. Her works are targeted not only to the young and rebellious, but also to grown-ups who are still young at heart. Yoshimoto's characters, settings, and titles have a modern and American approach, but the core is Japanese. She addresses readers in a personal and friendly way, with warmth and outright innocence, writing about the simple things such as the squeaking of wooden floors or the pleasant smell of food. Food and dreams are recurring themes in her work which are often associated with memories and emotions. Yoshimoto admits that most of her artistic inspiration derives from her own dreams and that she’d like to always be sleeping and living a life full of dreams.

Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto is a surreal read with a focus on three different young women and their journey with spiritual sleep. Asleep is short and makes for interesting reading... But as much as I enjoyed the plot and interesting writing style by the author, it wasn't a novel I loved or would recommend as a must read novel.

Listening time for Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto is 4 hours, 47 minutes and narrated by Emily Zeller. Ms. Zeller is a good narrator and I enjoyed listening to her narrate, Asleep.

Below is the plot summary Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto from Goodreads:
The New York Daily News has called Asleep "enchanting, surreal...Yoshimoto brings readers to another powerful, atmospheric place". Demonstrating again the artful simplicity and depth of her vision, Banana Yoshimoto reestablishes her place as a writer of international stature in a book that may be her most delightful since Kitchen.

In Asleep, Yoshimoto spins the stories of three young women bewitched into a spiritual sleep. One, mourning for a lost lover, finds herself sleepwalking at night. Another, who has embarked on a relationship with a man whose wife is in a coma, finds herself suddenly unable to stay awake. A third finds her sleep haunted by a woman against whom she was once pitted in a love triangle.

Sly and mystical as a ghost story, with a touch of Kafkaesque surrealism, Asleep is an enchanting new book from one of the best writers in contemporary international fiction.

I am giving Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!


  1. Having recently read Fifty Words For Rain, set in Japan, I might have to take a look at this one.

    1. I've read three books by Japanese writers this month. All of them have been interesting.