NP by Banana Yoshimoto was a bit odd. I heard of her as compared to Murakami, and found one her books for $2, so I thought I’d give it a shot. NP follows four main characters, three of whom are related, and two of whom are involved in an incestuous relationship and constantly tempted to make a suicide pact with each other. While the book isn’t quite as maudlin as this sounds, neither are the characters particularly deep or developed.
The book feels as though it takes place in a bubble separate from any reality of a day to day life characters normally experience, and while there is a plot, none of it feels consequential. I could see a few similarities to Murakami in style, but while his books always have underlying themes, NP’s theme seemed solely to consist of a “Will they or won’t they?” message, which I didn’t find of that much interest, especially given the lack of consequences. You’re preggers with your brother’s baby? Oh, just get married to someone else. You’re haunted by the suicide of your father? Say you’re in love with your sister, and feel judged even though there’s no evidence anywhere that you were judged, even by your other sister.
And through it all, I was kind of ‘meh’ about the whole thing, because after all, if the characters barely react to their own lives, why should I bother?
P.S. I found myself agreeing with this commenter on Amazon, but I don’t know if I’m really interested enough to try reading Yoshimoto’s Kitchen.