Kitchen

Open Road + Grove/Atlantic
7
Free sample

The acclaimed debut of Japan’s “master storyteller” (Chicago Tribune).
 
With the publication of Kitchen, the dazzling English-language debut that is still her best-loved book, the literary world realized that Banana Yoshimoto was a young writer of enduring talent whose work has quickly earned a place among the best of contemporary Japanese literature. Kitchen is an enchantingly original book that juxtaposes two tales 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. Mikage, the heroine, is an orphan raised by her grandmother, who has passed away. Grieving, Mikage is taken in by her friend Yoichi and his mother (who is really his cross-dressing father) Eriko. As the three of them form an improvised family that soon weathers its own tragic losses, Yoshimoto spins a lovely, evocative tale with the kitchen and the comforts of home at its heart.
 
In a whimsical style that recalls the early Marguerite Duras, Kitchen and its companion story, Moonlight Shadow, are elegant tales whose seeming simplicity is the ruse of a very special writer whose voice echoes in the mind and the soul.
 
“Lucid, earnest and disarming . . . [It] seizes hold of the reader’s sympathy and refuses to let go.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road + Grove/Atlantic
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Published on
Sep 15, 2015
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Pages
160
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ISBN
9780802190468
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Illustrated throughout with beautiful calligraphy, The Fourth Treasure is an original, surprising novel that weaves a suspenseful love story across and through two very different countries, cultures, and generations.

Tina Suzuki has just begun her first year of graduate study at the UC Berkeley Institute for Brain and Behavior Studies. Born and raised in San Francisco by her Japanese immigrant mother, Tina knows nothing about the rest of her family, and very little about her cultural heritage. But when her boyfriend’s Japanese calligraphy teacher suffers a stroke and loses his ability to communicate but continues to create magnificent calligraphic art, Tina knows she has stumbled across an ideal research subject.

However, getting the sensei to participate in her study poses a series of uncomfortable obstacles for Tina: the jealous opposition of her boyfriend, the political and (romantic) minefield of dealing with her professors and fellow students, and the willful reticence of her ailing mother. It seems that the blank personal history her mother had always presented is in fact a tightly wound scroll full of scandalous secrets. In ways she could have never expected, Tina’s studies will inevitably lead to revelations about her own family.

Juxtaposed with Tina’s story is that of the stricken sensei as a younger man, in Kyoto, and the history of the ancient inkstone he carries with him. The inkstone’s history, and the sensei’s art, reach back hundreds of years into a Japanese culture that no longer exists but that continues to reverberate on both sides of the Pacific.

As the dual narratives unfold, they are enhanced by intriguing marginalia that illuminate both the sensei’s Japanese calligraphy and Tina’s studies of the brain.

The result is a unique, unusually satisfying literary experience.
Monica Ali, nominated for the Man Booker Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award, has written a follow-up to Brick Lane that will further establish her as one of England's most compelling and original voices.

Gabriel L ightfoot is an enterprising man from a northern E ngland mill town, making good in London. As executive chef at the once-splendid Imperial H otel, he is trying to run a tight kitchen. But his integrity, to say nothing of his sanity, is under constant challenge from the competing demands of an exuberant multinational staff, a gimlet-eyed hotel management, and business partners with whom he is secretly planning a move to a restaurant of his own. D espite the pressures, all his hard work looks set to pay off.

Until a worker is found dead in the kitchen's basement. It is a small death, a lonely death -- but it is enough to disturb the tenuous balance of Gabe's life.

Elsewhere, Gabriel faces other complications. His father is dying of cancer, his girlfriend wants more from their relationship, and the restaurant manager appears to be running an illegal business under Gabe's nose.

Enter L ena, an eerily attractive young woman with mysterious ties to the dead man. U nder her spell, Gabe makes a decision, the consequences of which strip him naked and change the course of the life he knows -- and the future he thought he wanted.

Readers and reviewers have been stunned by the breadth of humanity in Monica Ali's fiction. S he is compared to D ickens and called one of three British novelists who are "the voice of a generation" by Time magazine. In the Kitchen is utterly contemporary yet has all the drama and heartbreak of a great nineteenth-century novel. Ali is sheer pleasure to read, a truly magnificent writer.
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