A minimalist gem that is both endearing, heartbreaking and hopeful. The story follows two young people who's lives have been infused by death. The main character Mikage takes comfort in Yuichi's family and home, and most especially the family kitchen. Quirky, yet profound, a work of innocent poetic beauty that I found so irresistible, I read it in one sitting. Yoshimoto's writing is vivid and revels in the small details of daily living like the green tatami mats in the kitchen, and the pleasure of eating fat udon noodles. She juxtaposes these comforting everyday scenes with profound concepts of the universe like love and death and the mysteries of the human experience. A lovely little book that leaves you feeling filled up and emptied out, and reminds you that it is beautiful and painful and beautiful all over again to be human.