Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto

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Banana Yoshimoto's novels have made her an international sensation, and her most recent, Asleep, was a triumphant performance, delighting her many fans. Now she returns with a magical, offbeat story of a deep and complicated friendship between two young 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 who is charismatic, spoiled, and occasionally cruel. When Maria's father is finally able to bring Maria and her mother to Tokyo, it ushers Maria into a world of university enrollment, impending adulthood, and a "normal" family. Then Tsugumi invites Maria to spend a last summer by the sea, and 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. "Banana Yoshimoto is always alert to the marvelous." -- Elle

About Banana Yoshimoto

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Banana Yoshimoto, 1964 - Novelist Banana Yoshimoto was born Mahoko Yoshimoto on July 24, 1964 in Tokyo, Japan. She is the daughter of poet and commentator Yoshimoto Ryumei, who had an impact on the radical student movement of the late 1960's. She attended Tokyo's Nihon University, where she studied creative writing and won a faculty award for her 1987 graduation novel "Moonlight Shadow." While working as a waitress, she took moments out of her day to write a novel and, at the age of 24, the result was "Kitchen" (1988), which is the story of a lonely woman who moves her bed into the kitchen, finding comfort in the humming of the refrigerator. She also wrote "Pineapple Pudding" and "Fruit Basket," which were both bestsellers. Her novel "Lizard" was dedicated to the memory of the late rocker Kurt Cobain and the novel "Long Night of Marika/Bali Dream Diary" (1996) was considered a flop. MICHAEL EMMERICH graduated from Princeton University. After completing research in Japanese literature studies at Ritsumeikan University in Tokyo, he went on to earn a Ph.D. in Japanese literature from Columbia University. He is the highly acclaimed translator of Nobel laureate Yasunari KawabatasFirst Snow on Fuji; Banana Yoshimotos Asleep, Goodbye Tsugumi and Hardboiled & Hard Luck; Genichiro Takahashis Sayonara Gangsters; Mari Akasakas Vibrator; and Taichi Yamadas In Search of a Distant Voice.
Published June 6, 2003 by Grove Press. 186 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Looking back as an adult, Maria mingles memories of their childhood with an account of their last summer together, just after Maria’s parents finally married and the family moved to Tokyo, and just before the Yamamotos sold the inn to start a European-style pension in the mountains.

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Publishers Weekly

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Tsugumi's tenuous health seems to free her from the behavioral norms that govern Maria and Tsugumi's long-suffering older sister, Yoko, allowing her to curse, flirt with boys, concoct elaborate pranks and shock adults in a way Maria resents, envies and admires.

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Book Reporter

Originally published in Japan in 1989, popular international author Banana Yoshimoto's GOODBYE TSUGUMI is the tale of a pair of teenage cousins, Maria Shirakawa and Tsugumi Yamamoto, and the final summer they spend together in the sleepy Japanese coastal village where they were raised.

Jul 31 2002 | Read Full Review of Goodbye Tsugumi

Entertainment Weekly

Before her family moved to Tokyo, Maria Shirakawa lived in a seaside town in Japan, where her uncle ran a hotel and her cousin Tsugumi grew from a sickly girl into an energetically nasty one: ''It wasn't narcissism.

Aug 23 2002 | Read Full Review of Goodbye Tsugumi

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