Kitchen

Kitchen

Blame it on the generation gap but the concept of this novel seemed outdated in light of modern trends. The novel in question, Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto, is about a young Japanese woman who is trying to make sense of her current life whilst also expanding age-old comfort zones established by her elders. Don't get me wrong; the story is delightful to read and it exceptionally touching but … I do like to think that the younger crowds don't feel this type of angst, especially where gender roles are concerned. Or am I being too hopeful here?

Kitchen is about a young woman, Mikage Sakurai, who lost her beloved grandmother recently. Thankfully for her, she meets up with a friend of her granny (Yuichi Tanabe) who not only offers temporary accommodation at his place but also ends up being her emotional support. Together they get along really well and help each on their own little journey of understanding what it means to be part of the new generation. It's not all fun games throughout the novel; pretty soon, these two receive tragic news and end up dealing with another sad phase of their lives.

I have to say it again, the novel is not a bad one. In fact, it is one of those novels where the female reader will be happy with the portrayal of a woman's personality traits and thoughts. In a lot of cases, female characters get sidelined or drawn up as a stereotype. Thus, coming across a book that does justice to them is a welcome sight. While it may be hard for modern women to identify with Sakurai's feelings of isolation of lack of belonging (or lack of direction … the themes covered in this are rather telling of the gender norms of its times), more often than not, folks will appreciate what she trying to say about woman's plight in general.