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May 19, 1996|CHARLES SOLOMON

LIZARD by Banana Yoshimoto, translated from the Japanese by Ann Sherif (Washington Square Press: $10; 180 pp.). In the afterword to her first collection of short stories, pop novelist Banana Yoshimoto says, "The people in my stories are encountering hope for the first time." Hints of radiance pierce the languid sorrow that pervades her fiction, but they suggest the initial discoveries of someone in therapy, rather than a light at the end of a tunnel. The alienated heroine of "A Strange Tale From Down by the River" comments, "No one can survive childhood without being wounded. . . . That's why, as adults, we all look for someone to become our parents again, and for someone to look after us in times of need. And we search for a person to live with who can provide the companionship we so desperately want."

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