Cover image for Goodbye Tsugumi
Goodbye Tsugumi
Yoshimoto, Banana, 1964-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Tsugumi. English
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Grove Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
186 pages ; 20 cm
Reading Level:
1020 Lexile.
Geographic Term:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Library

On Order



Yoshimoto's novels have made her an international sensation, and her most recent, "Asleep, " was a triumphant performance, delighting her 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.

Author Notes

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.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Yoshimoto favors short novels that gradually reveal thin, almost translucent layers of her characters' personalities. Her latest, following in the style of earlier books such as Kitchen and Asleep, is a careful examination of the relationship between two teenage cousins in a seaside Japanese town. Maria Shirakawa is a thoughtful young woman thrown by family circumstance (her parents never married; with her mother, she is waiting for her father's divorce from his current wife) into growing up with her cousin, Tsugumi Yamamoto, in her aunt and uncle's small inn. Tsugumi, who is chronically ill, possesses a mischievous charm that both maddens and amuses her family. As Maria describes Tsugumi: "She was malicious, she was rude, she had a foul mouth, she was selfish, she was horribly spoiled, and to top it all off she was brilliantly sneaky." 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. Eventually, Maria's parents are united and she leaves to attend university in Tokyo, returning for a final summer during which the inn is being demolished, and this provides Yoshimoto with all the plot she needs to explore the difficult but affectionate bond between the cousins. Emmerich's translation overcomes the occasional awkward moment to render the frank yet understated language that animates this modest story. Agent, Jennifer Lyons. (Aug.) Forecast: Yoshimoto's novels are always charmingly packaged, and Goodbye Tsugumi is no exception. A pretty, blurred jacket image and the book's small size should tempt browsers. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Novelist Yoshimoto (Kitchen, etc.) is a sensation of sorts in Japan and wherever her fiction has been available and for good reason. Her portrayal of life in Japan from a young and contemporary perspective is refreshing and hopeful, albeit in strange ways. Her latest, however, seems nothing more than an indulgence. Maria is the daughter of an unmarried woman who works at a seaside resort hotel run by relatives. She is close to her two female cousins, one of whom, Tsugumi, has suffered her entire life from an unnamed illness. Tsugumi is mean-spirited, antisocial, and cruel, and Maria is often the only person who can get through to her. When Maria's mother finally marries her father, he takes them away to Tokyo, where Maria begins college and a tenuous new social life. She returns to the seaside resort for one last summer before it is to be sold and discovers that the lives of everyone there, especially Tsugumi, have changed. These changes are, however, neither remarkable nor plausible. The dialog is stilted and often cartoonish, and the plot is missing almost entirely. Recommended only for libraries that own Yoshimoto's other works and would like to have everything she has written. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/02.] Michelle Reale, Elkins Park Free Lib., PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.