Hard Boiled and Hard Luck
I found this book on the sidewalk wandering around Brooklyn one morning. I had never heard of Banana Yoshimoto, but I picked the book up and searched Google for it. Hmph, "People seem to like it. I'll read a few pages."
I felt like I had dropped in on someone's life without context. Parts of the stories didn't make sense until the end and other parts never made sense.
What I grasped, by the end, is that this book is both about cherishing the life we live and acknowledging that death is a part of the human condition. It's hard to not live your own life or your inevitable future through the narrartor's ups and downs.
To be a small book, the prose meanders at times. I read this in English, so there could be some subtlties lost in the translation. I think the brevity with how the author structures parts of the book could be jarring, but that's just how Japanese is.
Overall, I liked the book and became a fan of Yoshimoto-san.