Books Heal- Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

Books Heal
    Banana Yoshimoto’s Kitchen is a healing story of how a woman, Mikage-- who loses all her family members and an important person is healed, and also a story that heals me.   Mikage, who suffers from the death of both parents from childhood, grows up with her grandparents.   The story begins when Mikage loses both her grandparents.   The death of her grandmother makes Mikage unable to carry on her normal life.   She withdraws from the university after her grandmother’s funeral, and she spends most her time sleeping in the kitchen with the humming of the refrigerator.
    After a few days, Yuichi, a man who works in the flower shop where Mikage’s grandmother often went to, invited Mikage to move to his home and live with Yuichi and his “mother”.   Yuichi’s “mother”-- Eriko was actually his father who became a transsexual after his wife’s death.   Mikage, Yuichi, and Eriko live together for a period of time.   During that time, Mikage seems to recover from her grandmother’s death and has a very good time living with them.   She and Eriko often spend their time talking in the kitchen.   Mikage’s favorite place in the world is kitchen.   In Japanese houses, the kitchen is the place for both cooking and dining.   It is a place for family members to get together; it’s the center of the whole family.   Thus, kitchen helps healing Mikage as being a companion and a substitute for Mikage’s lost family members that keeps company with Mikage through her bad times.
    Mikage regains her energy to live on after a while.   However, after she gets a job to work as an assistant for a cooking teacher and moves out, Eriko was killed.   The death of Eriko forces Mikage to reconsider the eternal losses—the death of beloved ones.   It is the time that Mikage finds out that she always lives in a sense of fear of losing loved ones, even during the happy time living with Eriko and Yuichi.   From the death of Yuichi’s “mother”, Mikage has realized that to live is to suffer.   And the...