Warning: If you have not read “Lizard” by Banana Yoshimoto, do not read this review unless you want minor spoilers! If you don’t mind spoilers or already read the short story collection, go ahead!
I’m back with another book review, and this time it’s a short story collection called “Lizard” by Banana Yoshimoto! Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“In these six stories, the author of Tugumi and NP explores themes of time, healing and fate, and how her urban, sophisticated, independent young men and women come to terms with them. The stories are a blend of traditional Japanese and contemporary popular culture.”
…Okay, I admit the summary doesn’t exactly help us know what all the stories are about, nor can I really break down the review story by story. However, I admit I found this collection overall interesting to read.
Some of the protagonists of the stories are men, such as in “Newlywed,” but other stories have women as protagonists such as in “A Strange Tale From Down By The River.” I found it a bit hard to discern sometimes what gender the protagonist was until about halfway through said stories, so that was slightly annoying. However, the characters did drive the plots of said stories, and it was interesting to get into their heads. This was helped by the fact that all of the short stories were in first-person POV.
I enjoyed “Newlywed” and “Blood and Water” the best out of all of the short stories in the collection. Both of them are favourites of mine, but it’s really hard to describe as of why. I feel like it’s due to the writing style, as well as the characters as I mentioned earlier, but this is one of the times where you have to actually read these stories yourself to understand why other people enjoy them.
Overall, I’m rating this 4.5 out of 5 stars for the characters driving the short stories’ plots, but losing the half star because of the ambiguous gender at times, when it should have been addressed sooner in some stories.