Book Review – Goodbye Tsugumi
Author: Banana Yoshimoto
Translator: Michael Emmerich
Publisher: Grove Press, New York, 1989
A personal, warm, reflection on a wonderful relationship with family
© Copyright. Peter Hanami, 2018. All Rights Reserved.
Banana Yoshimoto is a great writer who builds a very warm and personal relationship with the reader. Her skill is the ability to verbalize what she sees about people and how relationships connect.
In this story she allows the western reader to enter, observe and understand a Japanese woman’s world which is very different from a Japanese man’s. We are very lucky to see the warmth, relationships, connectedness, routines and joys women share. Particularly the reading of other people through their behaviour. How one’s silence is read as a way to find out their state of mind which is a very different skill for westerners.
We also get insight to small town life, living in the countryside, the beauty found in being fully aware of the changing seasons, especially summer festivals. The most outstanding part to me was when Maria saw here father in Tokyo on his way home from work and how she got to see his real life face that allowed her to get a deep glimpse of him as a person, not just the smiling face at home which was profound in its form and meaning
We learn how insignificant acts creates jealousy in others, how individuals deal with a long term sickness and their isolation, nostalgia and the difficulties of expressing emotions to the people you love.
The only surprise was the abrupt ending which could of been tied up more neatly.
Banana Yoshimoto really captures the reader with her warmth, like a warm bowl of soup on a cold night, it can’t help but to gain and keep your full attention.