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Lizard

I think almost all of my Banana books have been given as a gift from my best friend, Jeff including this one.

NOTE: All quotes are copyright © 1993 by Banana Yoshimoto. English translation copyright © 1995 by Ann Sherif. Typos and grammatical errors copyright © 2000-2014 Monica Hübinette.

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Lizard (Paperback)
Author: Banana Yoshimoto, Ann Sherif -- Published: Mar 1996 -- Format: Paperback
Amazon Amazon.com Price: $13.95 -- Usually ships in 24 hours
Amazon UK Amazon UK Price: -- Limited availability
Click for larger image DESCRIPTION:
A collection of six short stories incorporates themes of time, healing, and fate, following the adventures of young men and women who struggle to understand confusing emotions while embarking on journeys of self-discovery.

MONICA'S REVIEW:
Lizard is a collection of six short stories and reminds me of Kitchen in many ways. I think writing short stories is what Banana does best and she experiments with topics such as time, healing, karma and fate in these. There is a part of her Afterword that I find explains what the overall theme is all about.

I believe that we create our own heaven or hell in the very process of becoming and being our "selves." My opinion in these stories was to investigate that ongoing process, with the result that many of the pieces deal with religion and spiritual topics.

Newlywed: This story was serialized on posters on the railways around Japan. It makes it interesting since it is about a strange woman that a newly married man meets on the train. Also, this is the first story that I read by Banana that was written from a male perspective.

Lizard: Another story from a male perspective ... This one is about a relationship this man has with a woman he calls Lizard because of a tiny tattoo she has on her inner thigh. Together, they explore things about each other and an amazing talent that Lizard possesses.

Helix: Again, a story seen through the eyes of a man ... This story explores a turning point in a relationship between two people. I don't think it's the strongest of her stories so thankfully, it is short.

Dreaming of Kimchee: Here is our first female narritive in this collection ... It deals with how an affair with a married man is not as bad as everyone makes it sound. Sure, it isn't easy, but Banana shows how it doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing.

Blood and Water: This story is about a woman, Chikako, who grows up in a sort of religious sect. She has this overwhelming need to escape and in so doing, she finds herself and where she belongs in this world.

A Strange Tale from Down by the River: A tale about a woman, Akemi, who happened to use sex as a means of expressing herself, like one would do with pottery or cooking. She ends up giving up that life for a more "normal" one. Memories of her past life (along with a river and a man she loves) help her discover truths about herself.

OTHER EDITIONS:
There is also an edition available in a French translation from Amazon Canada®.

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Lizard (Hardcover)
Author: Banana Yoshimoto, Ann Sherif -- Published: Mar 1995 -- Format: Hardcover
Amazon Amazon.com Price: -- This item is currently not available.
Amazon UK Amazon UK Price: -- Limited availability
Click for larger image DESCRIPTION:
A collection of six short stories incorporates themes of time, healing, and fate, following the adventures of young men and women who struggle to understand confusing emotions while embarking on journeys of self-discovery.
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Favorite Quotes from Newlywed
Information · Book Reviews · Interviews
This being sitting next ot me felt somehow familiar, like the scent of a place, before I was born, where all the primal emotions, love and hate, blended in the air.
--Man on the train contemplating the strange woman who got on the car--

For me, the beautiful, all-encompassing web spun by this creature is at once so polluted, yet so pure that I felt compelled to grab on to it. I am terrified by it but find myself unable to hide from it. At some point I have been caught up in the magical power she has.
--Man on the train talking about his new wife--

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Favorite Quotes from Lizard
Information · Book Reviews · Interviews
I was reminded of her separateness, a being with different organs, bundled in a different sheath of skin, who has dreams at night that are nothing like my own.
--The man explains how he sees Lizard--

Her profile stood out in sharp relief against the white wall. She seemed like a creature of a different species, one who lives quietly in the dark.
--The man observes Lizard--

Her every gesture, every move, brought life to me, a man who had been dormant for so long.
--The man shares how Lizard has affected him--

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Favorite Quotes from Helix
Information · Book Reviews · Interviews
I had the unusual sensation of having grasped her entired personality in that single expression.
--The man observing his girlfriend--

It is an infinite helix, the dance of two souls resonating, like the twist of DNA, like the vast universe.
--The man explains his relationship with his girlfriend--

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Favorite Quotes from Dreaming of Kimchee
Information · Book Reviews · Interviews
Memories are energy, and if they aren't defused, they remain to haunt you.
--The woman telling herself to not dwell on the past too much--

It's in the air; there's no escape from this force within us. You can pretend to ignore it, but it still obscures your vision.
--The woman talks about how society's opinion on affairs affects her--

Another line had converged to form a circle. [...] A force, capable of liberating us from the burden of accumulated guilt, circled in to touch us that night.
--The woman explains how she feels about an event that just occured--

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Favorite Quotes from Blood and Water
Information · Book Reviews · Interviews
The moment our eyes met, I sensed something deeply spiritual about him, about every aspect of him; the light in his eyes, his small body, the way he moved.
--Chikako talks about when she first met Akira--

The first time I held the amulet in the palm of my hand, I could feel a squall of warm tears pass through the sky of my heart.
--Chikako expresses her feelings about the gift Akira had made for her--

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Favorite Quotes from A Strange Tale from Down by the River
Information · Book Reviews · Interviews
I always listened to the voice of the river, saying to me, "I flow along endlessly. I am constant." Those murmers engulfed me, like a lullaby, which soothed me and my anxiety about our love.
--Akemi talks about her connection to a river and the man that she loves--

All along, I'd look for surface beauty to hide the emptiness. But perhaps that's what hobbies are for, in the final analysis.
--Akemi contemplates her life--

You know all the right techniques, all the secrets. You understand how to flow with time, and not get stuck in one place. [...] I think most people live their whole lives repeating the same patterns, again and again and again.
--K, a man from her past, tells Akemi his impression of her--

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