Banana Yoshimoto’s debut novel Kitchen was such a sensation in Japan that the press dubbed the public’s obsession “bananamania.” Yoshimoto’s raw and poignant book paints a moving picture of urban life in 1980s Tokyo. It’s a love letter to the people and experiences that help us cope with loneliness: the misfits who cross paths in large cities, the way they become like family, and the simple but profound truth that when all feels lost, there’s nothing like the healing power of a good meal.