Quick Book Review: “Argentine Hag” by Banana Yoshimoto

I’m a big fan of Banana Yoshimoto.  Her first book, Kitchen, is on my top ten all-time favorite books.  This book, from 2002, has been out of print and is difficult to find, but I managed to find a copy on eBay, a special edition in both Japanese and English, with photographs and drawings by an artist, Yoshitomo Nara.  

The photos and artwork don’t seem to correlate to the story, but they’re still nice to look at, and they definitely make the book a little special.  The story is classic Banana: instantly relatable narrator, quirky characters that come to life after only two or three sentences, and a story that is a little light on plot but invariably centers around the death of someone, and how to find meaning in it.  Yes, her books tend to be a little light and fluffy, but that’s what I enjoy about them.  Although it’s not one of her major works by any means, getting my hands on this book was a nice find; a lot of her fans don’t even know about this one.  If you haven’t read anything by her, definitely start with Kitchen.  Seek this one out only if you’re a real fan.

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