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Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto

Goodbye Tsugumi

by Banana Yoshimoto

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Once again, I did not like Yoshimoto Banana's story... Am I the only one who can't stand bland main characters? I know that's kind of the point of the book, that the narrator tells the story of her cousin, Tsugumi. But the adoration the main character feels for her cousin, who, let's say it, is a total b*tch, just made me want to punch both of them all the time. Reminded me of Antechrista by Amelie Nothomb because of the main theme, but my memory of Antechrista is that of a far more enjoyable read. ( )
  roulette.russe | Jan 12, 2014 |
An engaging novel by a Japanese woman capturing the contradictions and fragility of experience.

Plot summaries of this book are misleading. Yoshimoto’s characters are just too unique. A sense of impending loss pervades her book, and yet its mood is bright and enjoyable. The book is narrated by Maria, a young woman, leaving the small seaside village of her childhood, but returning for one last summer there. The main character is Tsugumi, Maria’s cousin whose health is so poor she could die at any monument. Tsugumi is beautiful, but never the sickly but sweet girl of romantic visions. Lashing out at those closest to her has become her way of dealing with pain and eminent death. As Maria and readers increasingly understand, she has a spark of energy, of life, that make both appealing and appalling.

Read more on my blog: me, you and books
  mdbrady | Apr 15, 2012 |
The way Banana Yoshimoto writes is all but luminescent. Somehow, even in translation, which is an even more amazing feat, anything she writes moves me, makes me think and often makes me cry. not because it's tearjerking, just because it's true. even a story about a bitchy terminal invalid and a last summer before a seaside inn gets sold escapes the trite and the sentimental and just rings true.

The title character, the friend and cousin of the narrator is talking about her grudging fondness for a dog, Pooch. "It's no joke, kid. This is the pits. I feel like some sort of Don Juan who's gotten himself all tangled up in the passions of one of his young virgins and accidentally ended up married... But you see nasty people have a special kind of nasty-people philosophy. This business with the mutt goes against that... The idea is I want to be the kind of jerk who could kill Pooch and eat him if it got like that-to a point where there was really nothing left to eat anymore-and not feel anything. Of course I don't mean one of these half-baked jerks who'd shed a little tear afterward and then go put up a tombstone and whisper to it, 'I'm so sorry it had to be this way, Pooch, but thanks to you maybe the rest of us will survive.' I'm not talking about the kind of person who'd take a little chip of bone and make it into a pendant and wear it wherever she went. I want to be able to just laugh and say, 'Wow, that Pooch sure was delicious!' and i want to be able to feel really calm as I say it, and if possible I don't want to feel any regret or any twinges of conscience, you see? Of course that's just an example."

there's more, i could type half the book out, but i won't. but i am going to go reread all the yoshimoto books i do have looking for a specific quote about family i halfremember.
  omnia_mutantur | Dec 14, 2011 |
Banana Yoshimoto’s novels usually have sweet, wistful characters. This novel did not. Its main character was a girl by the name of Tsugumi. She was rude and nasty. She was also dying. Thin, frail, but beautiful, Tsugumi never found favor with me as she did all sorts of spiteful things to others, even to her own cousin Maria. I could never understand why Maria and all others put up with her foolishness. It was very hard not to just close this book and be rid of Tsugumi once and for all.

In this story, Maria, a year older than Tsugumi, comes back to the oceanside Japanese town in which she previously lived to spend one last summer at the inn which Tsugumi’s parents run. Maria, for some odd reason, actually enjoys the company of Tsugumi. Maria also spends time in the company of Yoko, Tsugumi’s older sister, and Kyoichi, Tsugumi’s boy-friend. Not much happens in this story other than the kidnapping of a dog. Yes, I think that’s the highlight of this story.

There’s another lowlight, but I’ll leave that for you to discover should you decide to read this book. What happened was truly not believable so I was rather glad to finish this book and move on to something else. ( )
1 vote SqueakyChu | Dec 13, 2011 |
Tsugumi is Maria's cousin, but they are more like sisters, fighting like cats, close despite, or because, of their bickering. Their statuses are different, Tsugumi is the indulged daughter of Maria's aunt, who has taken in her and her mother while her father finalises his divorce with his wife. Maria and her mother are not able to forget the fact that until the divorce, she is just the mistress of a rich man. The girls grow up together, play together, with Tsugumi pushing Maria, until one day she snaps, a turning point in their relationship. There is a mutual respect that grows slowly, especially as Maria is the only one who treats the sickly Tsugumi without kid gloves.

I enjoyed this, a story of a close relationship, as well as first loves and the complications of family lives. It has the feel of a coming of age novel, the summer that changed your life. I also liked the fact that the story is universal, but has well-depicted Japanese roots. ( )
1 vote soffitta1 | Nov 7, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Banana Yoshimotoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ortmanns, AnnelieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802139914, Paperback)

Banana Yoshimoto's novels of young life in Japan have made her an international sensation. Goodbye Tsugumi is an offbeat story of a deep and complicated friendship between two female cousins that ranks among her best work. Maria is the only daughter of an unmarried woman. She has grown up at the seaside alongside her cousin Tsugumi, a lifelong invalid, charismatic, spoiled, and occasionally cruel. Now Maria's father is finally able to bring Maria and her mother to Tokyo, ushering Maria into a world of university, impending adulthood, and a "normal" family. When Tsugumi invites Maria to spend a last summer by the sea, a restful idyll becomes a time of dramatic growth as Tsugumi finds love and Maria learns the true meaning of home and family. She also has to confront both Tsugumi's inner strength and the real possibility of losing her. Goodbye Tsugumi is a beguiling, resonant novel from one of the world's finest young writers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:05 -0400)

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