Nostalgia as a means to overcome trauma: the case of Yoshimoto Banana’s “Sweet Hereafter”
4th International Interdisciplinary Memory Conference “Memory, Melancholy and Nostalgia” (17-18 Semptember, 2015 in Gdansk)
Languages of publication
The natsukashisa (nostalgia) is a common key to interpretation of novels written by the Japanese author Yoshimoto Banana. Considered as the desire for a replay of life, nostalgia is evaluated as a solution for the sensation of emptiness and solitude attributed to modern life; a gap that can be bridged by memory, recollection and flash-backs of the protagonists in Yoshimoto’s novels. As a representation for something gone, the objects of this nostalgic feeling assume different forms in Yoshimoto’s works: a faraway house, a lost person, a feeling perceived and then missed; dreams, hallucinations, images and paintings: everything is transformed by the author in a vehicle to allow the reader to sympathize with the protagonists and share the same nostalgic feeling. Author’s attempt is to encourage the young readers to keep on seeking the lost self in the past in order to not betray one’s identity. This is the main topic one can also recognise in her novel called Sweet Hereafter, a publication in which nostalgia for a self lost in a car accident is compared to the one felt by the hisaisha of Tōhoku region who lost everything after the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on 11th March 2011. Here Yoshimoto suggests natsukashisa as the possible way to overcome the traumatic experience of witnessing Japanese Daishinsai. This brief investigation proposes a literary case study that highlights the relation between trauma and memory, with a particular focus on nostalgia considered as a positive means for overcoming traumatic experience.
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