I wasn’t planning on covering Banana Yoshimoto’s N.P. (also published as NP and np), translated by Ann Sherif in the QUILTBAG+ Speculative Classics series, but I picked it up at a book sale and it opened to the following sentence in the afterword: “I have attempted, in this miniature universe, to touch on as many of the themes that interest me as possible (lesbianism, love within the family, telepathy and empathy, the occult, religion and so on).” That definitely sounds both QUILTBAG+ and speculative! I was surprised the book qualified for my column, given that it was published as a non-speculative work; and it’s especially hard to find translated novels to discuss here, so I bought it right away. I was anxious about incest as a theme immediately following queerness, but I figured I’d still give the book a try.
(For readers who want to avoid these topics, though, please be aware that the novel involves both incest and suicide, and both topics are touched on in the article that follows).