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March 12, 1995|CHARLES SOLOMON

NP by Banana Yoshimoto, translated from the Japanese by Ann Sherif (WashingtonSquare: $10; 194 pp.). The Japanese equivalent of the Brat Pack novelists of the '80s, Banana Yoshimoto enjoys a growing popularity in the United States. "NP" stands for "North Point," a collection of 97 short stories by a noted writer who recently killed himself. He death resulted from his contemplation of the mysterious 98th story, which also precipitated the suicides of several translators, including narrator Kazami Kano's first boyfriend. As Kazami gradually discovers the secrets of the author's bizarre, incestuous family, dark, unsettling secrets are related as if they were ordinary events in the life of a typical young woman.

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