Hardboiled and Hard Luck by Banana Yoshimoto
This book contains two novellas possessed by the ghosts of love found and lost.
In Hardboiled, the unnamed narrator is hiking in the mountains on an anniversary she has forgotten about. As she nears her hotel and stops on the way at a hillside shrine and a strange soba shop, a sense of haunting falls over her.
Hard Luck is about another young woman whose dying sister lies in a coma. Kuni’s fiance left her after the accident, but his brother Sakai continues to visit.
Hardboiled definitely has fantastic gothic undertones. It is a little creepy with that anticipation of doom just hanging over you. It would make a great film. In fact, I enjoyed the dark side to this novella so much I was disappointed when it ended. Couldn’t it be a full novel??!! On another note, I liked the flashbacks to the narrator’s past relationship too.
Hard Luck didn’t grab me so much at first. I found it rather depressing and slow. However, towards the end of the novel I was hit with the narrator’s pain and emptiness with regards to her sister and therefore the ending really affected me.
Overall: Beautiful, simple writing.
Hardboiled and Hard Luck: 4 Stars