By Banana Yoshimoto.
Kitchen is the novel and Moonlight Shadow is the novella companion, hardly more than a short story. They are the debut stories of a Japanese author. She picked the name Banana for herself as her pen name. Kitchen is quirky and strange, the voice just a little off somehow, perhaps it’s the translation. The main character had a personality that took me a while to find, but the story was great, the twists and turns not the focus but the background for the main character’s development.
I enjoyed Moonlight Shadow much more, though perhaps Kitchen prepared me for the style and I was more receptive to it. It was incredibly sad with a touch of magic realism that was almost… not beside the point or unnecessary but not the key to the story’s success. I cried for a long time afterward, the sadness of the story bringing out other sadnesses in myself.