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Publisher's Summary

Banana Yoshimoto's warm, witty, and heartfelt depictions of the lives of young Japanese have earned her international acclaim and best seller status, as well as a place among the best of contemporary Japanese literature. In Lizard, now available in Grove Press paperback, Yoshimoto deftly fuses traditional and pop culture to create contemporary portraits of love and life. These six tales explore themes of time, healing, and fate - and the journeys of self-discovery through which young urbanites come to terms with them.

In "Newlywed", an unhappily married young man deliberately misses his stop on the train, only to be questioned by a shape-shifting homeless man about the trials of his marriage. In "Blood and Water", a woman recalls how she left the village she grew up in - which was run by a New Age cult - in order to lead a fulfilling life, even against her parents' wishes. And in the title story, "Lizard", a woman who has never before felt truly secure in her life admits a deep secret to her lover - that she has the ability to heal others with her mind.

In different ways, these six stories explore what it takes to navigate the perils of the modern world as well as what it takes to reinvent one's self. Permeated by the author's own effervescent spin on magic realism, Lizard cements a special place for Yoshimoto in 20th-century Japanese fiction.

©1988 Banana Yoshimoto, English translation Fukutake Publishing Co., Ltd., through the Japan Foreign-Rights Centre, translation copyright 1993 by Megan Backus (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Yoshimoto's elegant, fey touch with such weighty themes as despair and fate, [and] her urban images distilled and shimmering as haiku... continue to make her a welcome and uniquely assured voice." (Paper magazine)
"Earnest, deep, and unaffected.... These stories... [are] quick and delicate, building, one after another, in a gentle crescendo of understanding and intensity." (The New Yorker)

Featured Article: 10 Famous Japanese Authors You Have to Hear


Thanks to the work of translators and publishers, Japanese literature is now more accessible than ever to English-speaking audiences. If you've ever wanted to learn more about Japanese culture and literature, you cannot go wrong with listening to audiobooks from Japan. We've compiled a list of the most famous Japanese authors who have helped define Japanese literature, and their notable works across genres and time periods.

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What listeners say about Lizard

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  • Overall
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Profound!

This collection of short stories tackles different kinds of philosophies and circumstances of relationships.
The pieces were all thought provoking and quite profound. The stories are light, but it makes you think and empathize with the characters and most importantly with their situations. Because the characters thoughts and ideals are the main focus of these stories, not the plots nor how they act.

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Engaging, wonderful stories

I really enjoyed these stories. Each one had compelling, believable characters all linked by the motif of introspection and the search for self understanding within romantic love, sex, and relationships. I particularly appreciated the strong women characters in each chapter and how author Banana Yoshimoto implicitly writes about their unstigmatized sexual agency, celebrates their independence and confidence as each character processes uncertainty and trauma, and frames it all within the context of vulnerability as power. I’m not going to lie, it was also wonderful to be transformed into a world where, by the end of each story, that vulnerability was affirmed as a cherished trait recognized and supported by the partners these women choose. Yoshimoto’s characters start out in one place and, through their development of self via relationships with others, they build their lives into the perfect landing places they need. It was really a lovely collection.

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Enchanting

This is the first book I listened to from Banana Yoshimoto. Readers who love Haruki Murakami will surely find the same feelings of lost nostalgia in everyday life within her writing. The performance by Emily Zeller was also wonderful.

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Perfectly weird but amazing stories

The book was amazing and the narration was absolutely great. Highly recommend this set of stories!

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Review and three questions (Asperger's?)

I consider it a well-developed story with a skillfully-crafted environment, especially the convenience store and Keiko Furukura's room. My only "but" is the character Shiraha. I am aware I didn't have to like him but didn't convince me as believable.
I do have three questions:
1. Was it about someone with Asperger's? I totally do think so!
2. Are stereotypes universal?
3. Why has the definition of success hardly changed?