Hardboiled and Hard Luck
Hardboiled and Hard Luck are two novellas by Banana Yoshimoto bundled together in one volume.
In Hardboiled, a young woman is hiking through the forest in the mountains for her vacation. She finds a path off the main road that should take her to the next village. She has already reserved a hotel room there for the night. While walking along, she remembers an old lover who died years earlier. Then the path makes odd turns, taking her deeper into the forest to a partially ruined shrine. A dark feeling takes over as she hurries away, eventually reaching the village later than intended. The feeling stays with her through her meals and into the night. Her memories catch up with her, defining the day and the events.
A woman visits her dying sister in the hospital day after day. The sister had a cerebral aneurysm and went into a coma. Now her brain has quit functioning. The sister's fiance couldn't handle the crisis and left town. Instead, his brother frequently visits the patient. This woman finds she is attracted to the brother, but this is not the appropriate time to act on the attraction. In fact, her sister had warned her away from him before they met or before the illness. Hard Luck examines her thoughts and feelings as her vital sister disappears before their eyes and the effect the man has on her.
While both of these are complete, Yoshimoto has written slices of life stories in them. The narratives are both told in the first person voice and the writer is not identified by name. They are introspective and invite the reader to also contemplate their life stories. Hardboiled and Hard Luck are quiet, unassuming stories that say little but convey a wealth of meaning and ideas.
This is a small book and easy to read. Don't let that fool you. Yoshimoto has stories to tell. Let her do that for you.
Notice: Suggestive dialogue or situations
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