I’ve made some progress on Book Challenge #5, which you can read more about here: 7 Continents, 7 Billion People, 7 Books, but as a quick refresher it’s the challenge where I read books from 7 different countries chosen based on geopolitical features.
My list was:
1) the 7 countries with the most population: Garlic Ballads by Mo Yan (China)
2) the 7 highest countries in the world: Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (India)
3) the 7 oldest countries of the world: Palace Walk (Cairo Trilogy #1) by Naguib Mahfouz (Egypt)
4) one of the 7 megacities of the world: Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto (Tokyo)
5) the 7 countries with the most immigrants: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (Russia)
6) the 7 richest (or poorest) countries: Hunger by Knut Hamsun (Norway)
7) the 7 most rainy (or dry) countries: The Dark Child by Camara Laye (Guniea)
I have completed #4, Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto!
Wikipedia summary of the book:
“In Kitchen, a young Japanese woman named Mikage Sakurai struggles to overcome the death of her grandmother. She gradually grows close to one of her grandmother’s friends, Yuichi, from a flower shop and ends up staying with him and his transgender mother, Eriko.
From Mikage’s love of kitchens to her job as a culinary teacher’s assistant to the multiple scenes in which food is merely present, Kitchen is a short window into the life of a young Japanese woman and her discoveries about food and love amongst a background of tragedy.
In Moonlight Shadow, a woman named Satsuki loses her boyfriend Hitoshi in an accident and tells us: “The night he died my soul went away to some other place and I couldn’t bring it back”. She becomes friendly with his brother Hiiragi, whose girlfriend died in the same crash. On one insomniac night out walking she meets a strange woman called Urara who has also lost someone. Urara introduces her to the mystical experience of The Weaver Festival Phenomenon, which she hopes will cauterise their collective grief.”
My quick review: Pretty good! She has a unique voice . The book had a slower pace and there isn’t a lot of action, but it gives an interesting slice of time in someone’s life. I read both the main story, and the novella that came with it (Moonlight Shadow), and the voice carries through the second story as well. I felt immersed in a different culture, but I was still able to empathize and relate with the characters. Also, a pretty quick read. I’d recommend it to anyone.