Man Asian Literary Prize-nominated The Lake is a tale of coming to terms with grief, set in Banana Yoshimoto's native Japan.
Chihiro’s mother has just died, and she leaves her small town behind to move to Tokyo for a new life. As she adjusts in her new apartment, she catches sight of a boy, Nakajima, in the apartment opposite, who, like her, is daydreaming out of the window. The two young people instantly form a connection from behind the glass.
As their unconventional frienship develops they spend more and more time together, both, as it turns out, nursing the wounds of the loss of their mothers. But as the story progresses it becomes clear that Nakajima has suffered an additional terrible trauma in his childhood, and his story starts to unfold as the two of them take a trip to the lake where Nakajima used to live with his mother.
Both Chihiro and Nakajima need to come to terms with the different types of mother they each had; one was a good-time girl, the other was cloying in her affection; and both are left struggling to find their way back into a world, to find their own kind of normality and to trust in a future with hope.