I first read this book in the mid 00’s but it was a tough time then and I admit that I didn’t really absorb too much so it was definitely time to re-read it and I’m glad I did!
Kitchen comprises of two novellas and each revolve around the theme of love , loss and transgenderism (if such a term exists)
The title story revolves around a girl who loses her family and befriends another boy who has gone through such losses, as well. As time passes these two start to build a bond which is enhanced by their love of food and kitchens.
The other novella is called Moonlight Shadow and deals with a woman who loses her boyfriend and she also finds a connection between her cross dressing boyfriend’s brother (who loses his girlfriend) both characters go through a ‘happening’ which makes them cope with their situation.
I was heavily reminded of the light surrealism that one finds in Murakami’s novels but Yoshimoto is much kinder to her characters and is a bit more whimsical. On the whole though these two novellas are fantastic and addictive reading. Weirdly enough I felt like a better person afterwards. Yoshimoto’s style makes you feel good and you sympathise with her down to earth characters. After going through lots of more surreal novels or way too many realistic ones, Kitchen was a perfect antidote.