Grove Press has just brought out an English translation of Kitchen, by Banana Yoshimoto, an unclassifiable, magnificent little book that has won two literary awards and has had fifty-seven—yes, fifty-seven—printings in four years. As the dust jacket claims, Kitchen is about mothers, love, tragedy, transsexuality and food. One wishes to write a favourable review, even a rave, free of phrases like "quite accomplished for such a young writer" (Yoshimoto was twenty-four when the book first appeared in Japan). But on examining the work closely to discover how its magic is wrought, one finds sentences such as "While watching them I felt a strange, sweet sadness" and "I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off." Go figure.