You ever have one of those dreams where you wake up with some profound emotion deep within your core, but you can’t for the life of you remember what happened in the dream? That’s what reading Yoshimoto is like.
The book is called Tugumi, but I think Yoshimoto uses her characters to explore those times, feelings, and situations that stand out and seem surreal–that stick in your memory–the feeling in your core that sticks with you. This chapter, in particular, was not about Tugumi or Maria, it was about those weird late nights that happen when you can’t sleep, or you feel the need to take a different path, where people open up and are themselves.
I think, in general, the ‘action’ in her writing is secondary to exploring the emotional significance of these sorts of moments in general, and how they get filed away in our brains and resonate with other memories and other people. I definitely have accumulated a handful of these 「夏のよる」のファイル myself, and this chapter really resonated in that way with me. I guess it’s why I really like her writing, despite forgetting many of the details…
Lovely post! And lovely chapter - the feeling of some nights being special was very relatable. I agree that the book isn’t really about Tugumi. It’s all little snapshots from the album of Maria’s memory, and the thoughts and feelings they evoke. Little, apparently inconsequential moments, that yet hold some special significance. We all have them, those vivid memories of unconnected moments, smells, conversations, where nothing dramatic happened, yet somehow they stuck with us and can conjure up a whole other period of our life.
I had very mixed feelings about this book at the beginning, but I’m liking it more and more as it goes.
Another question form this chapter, p88 my version:
I can’t quite get the meaning of this sentence, from the following few lines it sounds like she’s talking about a single occasion. But it seems to jump from being woke up to being at school, and I don’t quite get the connection.
The sentence ends with 思い出していた. What is happening at the time of narration somehow triggered a memory of how Tugumi used to behave back when they went to school. As is mentioned immediately after, it’s a flashback.
Time is a little confusing im this book, because it’s all a trip down memory lane. Maria (presumably now much older) recounts that time when she visited her hometown after moving to Tokyo. While remembering whar happened then, she also mentions things she remembered at the time, which had happened way earlier. It’s all memories within memories within memories.