“Life can be hard. Yes. But if a person hasn’t experienced true despair, she grows old never knowing how to evaluate where she is in life; never understanding what joy really is. I’m grateful for it.”

Death, charming, loneliness, gentle. These words may seem at odds but Banana Yoshimoto harmonizes them with timeless wisdom and delicate prose in her book, Kitchen. The story doesn’t shy away from pain and loss but rather it sits with them, gets to know them and ultimately, warms them. She reminds us that they are equally a part of a full life as much as joy and wonder. She takes away the power that fear of death and loss can hold over us and she reminds us, graciously, that life is short and fleeting, so how shall we live it?


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