By Gwendolyn Dawson
In her typically compact style, Yoshimoto creates a relationship of ever-increasing power with minimal words. The conversational casualness of the prose keeps the story rocketing along. While the overall effect is potent, the story is marred by too many clichés (“sleep like a log,” “bored me to death”). It’s difficult to know whether such imperfections arise out of the translation or from a conscious choice by Yoshimoto to give Chihiro a naïve and relatively uneducated voice, but, either way, the resulting prose is often uninspiring. Nevertheless, The Lake is a unique love story and a quick, entertaining read.
The Lake was translated from the Japanese by Michael Emmerich. It is published in the United states by Melville House.
Gwendolyn Dawson is the founder of Literary License.