This book is a "must read" for anyone interested in Asian culture. Banana Yoshimoto is an author to watch for in the future.
This short novel told the story of a young Japanese girl, Maria, and her childhood and young adulthood spent at a summer beach resort Inn with her cousins, Tsugumi and Yoko. Tsugumi is a sickly child who seems to have been spoiled her whole life, but Maria forms a close bond with her even though Tsugumi was basically mean-spirited. During her final summer at the beach, Tsugumi falls in love with Kyoichi and seeks vengeance on a group of teens who kill Kyoichi's dog and towards the end, she falls seriously ill and may end up dying. Yoshimoto does a good job of portraying the emotions and feelings of the characters and she also describes the town and scenery very well. But, overall the book tended to drag a little for me and overall I would only mildly recommend it.
Very, very sad. Creates a sense of nostalgia for anyone growing up.