InMoshi-Moshi, Yoshie's much-loved musician father has died in a suicide pact with an unknown woman. It is only when Yoshie and her mother move to Shimo-kitazawa, a traditional Tokyo neighborhood of narrow streets, quirky shops, and friendly residents that they can finally start to put their painful past behind them. However, despite their attempts to move forward, Yoshie is haunted by nightmares in which her father is looking for the phone he left behind on the day he died, or on which she is trying--unsuccessfully--to call him. Is her dead father trying to communicate a message to her through these dreams?
With the lightness of touch and surreal detachment that are the hallmarks of her writing, Banana Yoshimoto turns a potential tragedy into a poignant coming-of-age ghost story and a life-affirming homage to the healing powers of community, food, and family.
Published in 2010 in Japanese in Tokyo, it has sold over 29,000 copies there so far. "InMoshi-Moshi, Banana's narrator addresses the poignant question, how do you rebuild your life when your much-loved father loses his life in shocking circumstances?"
"A beautiful translation...Yoshimoto deploys a magically Japanese light touch to emotionally and existentially tough subject matter: domestic disarray, loneliness, identity issues, lovesickness...[a] nimble narrative." --ELLE "Banana Yoshimoto's novels are like jewel boxes, and Moshi Moshi is no exception." --Vanity Fair "Yoshimoto's beguiling evocations of life's small details...make Moshi Moshi is a joy to read." --The National "An unlikely, engrossing Tokyo ghost story...You won't be able to take your mind off it." --Marie Claire "An intimate portrayal of grief and recovery...Yoshimoto's beautiful imagery--the cherry tree in front of the Les Liens bistro where Yochan works, restaurants glowing late at night, the coziness among the restaurant staff members, all captures the spirit of Shimokitazawa and marks Yochan's slow return to an anchored life...The translator, Yoneda, enables English readers to fully appreciate Yoshimoto's subdued, yet sharp, rendering of a young woman emerging from grief and moving forward with her dreams." --Booklist "Yoshimoto offers another story of youth, grief, and redemption in this ephemeral yet lovely portrait of an unformed woman...[a] pressing emotional alchemy emerges that leaves everyone changed at the end...A fleeting portrait of a critical moment in a young woman's life, one with which the late John Hughes might have felt some kinship." --Kirkus "[Moshi Moshi] is measured, tenderly thoughtful, and wholly free of the sort of over-the-top bathos a less practiced or more desperate writer might proffer...refreshingly realistic." --Library Journal "Moshi Moshi is a marvelous and comforting gift." --Winnipeg Free Press