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Goodbye Tsugumi

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  8,711 ratings  ·  689 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 186 pages
Published 2002 by Faber & Faber (first published March 20th 1989)
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Diana L. In my opinion, Tsugumi is a good girl, her badness is only apparent , she is selfish because he has not had the opportunity to be otherwise. She appea…moreIn my opinion, Tsugumi is a good girl, her badness is only apparent , she is selfish because he has not had the opportunity to be otherwise. She appears without filters, she says what she thinks, few people do the same with her...(less)

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Average rating 3.71  · 
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Jim Fonseca
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Question: if a story is about three young women of college age, is it always a YA novel? This Japanese author is considered a YA author.

This is a bit of a strange story. The main character is an only child but she also grew up with her aunt and uncle and two female cousins who are sisters, one a year older, one a year younger. The two families run a small seaside resort and function as a single family. While we follow the main character as she tells the story, Tsugumi of the title is in a sense
The present encapsulates a series of moments which rarely coalesce to form a coherent motif or a recognizable image we can easily identify with only grief or euphoria or even dejection. Melancholia and felicity, hope and disappointment are often indissolubly mixed in this concoction. One cannot have one without the other. But on rare occasions clarity dawns on a fortunate few or those who are sentimental enough to look back at a time which has already merged with the void leaving only a pale sha ...more
Jr Bacdayan
Aug 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This novel, more than anything, wrenched my heart. I could feel its every beat as I glided through Banana Yoshimoto’s simple yet soothing prose. The breeze of a warm summer sea penetrated through the pages and I felt its warmth saunter over me like a comforting blanket. Even the cold of my room was eviscerated by the earnest glow of a young girl’s relentless spirit. This beautiful tale of two cousins is one of the few books that has truly resonated with my personal outlook. I was thoroughly take ...more
Lynne King
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing

From the time she was born, Tsugumi was ridiculously frail, and she had a whole slew of physical ailments and defects. Her doctors announced that she would die young and her family began preparing for the worst. Of course everyone around her spoiled her like you wouldn’t believe.

I loved "Kitchen" by this author but I actually prefer this book. What it is, I've really tried to fathom it out, basically is that it comes down to the simplicity in the style of writing. Having said that, I've rea
Anna Luce

“This story you’re reading contains my memories of the final visit I made to the seaside town where I passed my childhood—of my last summer at home.”

Goodbye Tsugumi is the quintessence of Yoshimoto. Written in her quietly poetic prose Goodbye Tsugumi is a novel that is light on the plot. Yoshimoto introduces us to her characters without preamble, offering little in terms of backstory, yet she's quick to establish the dynamic between Maria and her capricious best friend Tsugumi. Maria's feeling
Ed Martin
Jun 06, 2007 rated it it was ok
I really wasn't impressed by this book. The ideas and themes covered sounded very interesting, and while Yoshimoto's descriptions of scenery are well-written, the characters seemed to lack depth, and didn't really encourage a feeling of sympathy. I've given the benefit of the doubt as the process of translation may subtract from the original. While the descriptions of scenery were well written, and Yoshimoto made some interesting and thought-provoking points, the characters spoilt the book for m ...more
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maria Shirakawa is spending her last summer before Tokyo university at the seaside spa she has spent the most of her life in, with her cousin’s family, waiting for her father to finish his divorce from his first wife. This time is spent mostly with her two cousins, Yoko and Tsugumi, of which the latter stands out for her beauty, but also because of her abrasive, spoiled nature and fragile health. During the summer, love is found and the appreciation of the seaside and its town grows more intense ...more
Yoshimoto's elegiac writing would probably automatically receive the rating for average, regardless of anything else. her prose is so beautiful, transporting readers with its sheer elegance.

The tone of this book matches the location, the seaside village where the narrator, Maria Shirakawa, is spending one last summer. At the center of the novel is her friendship with one quite unlovable character, Tsugumi. Tsugumi is her cousin, whom treats everyone around her poorly; predictably those closest
Jun 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
I usually like Yoshimoto Banana's stories, but Tsugumi and Maria didn't offer any interesting angles or stories for me. The former was an egocentric special snowflake brat and the latter's a female Jared Kushner.

The evocation of an idyllic seaside town was cool but even that couldn't save the novel from Tsugumi. #byefelicia #byetsugumi
Jul 01, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I can only hope for Yoshimotos's sake that A LOT was lost in the translation of this book. I'm just glad it was a short, quick read because I really, really hated it.

Where to start? First of all, I dislike Yoshimoto's general writing style. Word choice is poor (although I realize that could be due to the translation) and the dialogue is sooooo lame. It's like a middle school student wrote it.

Also, what is up with this: "I can't explain this very well. But just then, as the lucid rush of the rai
Sep 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews, 2013
Just finished this 186-page book, strangely enough it felt quite long, despite the number of pages being quite short. Spoilers ahead.

Goodbye Tsugumi is described as 'An elegiac story of two young cousins coming of age at the Japanese seaside', 'an enchanting novel from one of Japan's finest writers. Marie has grown up at the seaside alongside her cousin Tsugumi, a lifelong invalid, charismatic, spoiled and occasionally cruel. Now Maria is moving to Tokyo to go to university, and Tsugumi invites
You may have noticed the presence of a new page on my blog: “Translated YA.” I am making a conscious effort to read translated works of YA lit because I feel that not enough attention is granted to an immense body of work out there. I am deeply interested in the glimpses of societies and cultures given through these works. I am also curious about gender and narrative constructions in works by authors who are not North American.

Goodbye Tsugumi is a gentle book. It’s like a calm seashore. It has t
Sep 16, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a slow but pleasant read, with a few meaningful moments dotted along the way. I guess you could say nothing much happens for most of the book, but that's an accurate enough portrayal of real life. Sometimes it's magical, but mostly we're just going through the motions.

Maria's a very real protagonist who feels very real emotions, and so it's incredibly easy to want her to succeed and be happy. Tsugumi on the other hand just felt very...forced. Perhaps it was the translation, but her pers
Sep 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I'm glad I read this, coincidentally, as summer was ending and turning into autumn, as the whole book seems to be about the finite nature of summer. Endings, time. I love the way Yoshimoto describes situations you could never articulate yourself. I think she is a master of plucking vague feelings and atmospheres and weaving them into narratives so the reader has that moment of empathy or nostalgia with the characters.

This book is really calming to read. The setting is insular and the characters
Jan 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japan, favorites
first read, 2010: What I liked so much about this book was the mood it set. I loved the characters and the way Yoshimoto tells the story in a simple way. A really beautiful novel. I'm glad I own this one because I will definitely want to read this again.
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So what do you do after reading one Banana Yoshimoto book? You read another Banana Yoshimoto book :) That is what I did! I read 'Goodbye, Tsugumi'. This book came out in Japanese in 1989 – that was in a really different era. This is the third book I read for Women in Translation Month.

The story told in 'Goodbye Tsugumi' goes like this. Maria lives with her mother, aunt and uncle, and two cousins, Yōko and Tsugumi, in a seaside town. Her aunt and uncle run an inn there, and tourists generally com
Jul 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: japanese
Shelves: japanese
Goodbye Tsugumi was not, at least for me, the best book by Banana Yoshimoto. But, it wasn't bad either. The story was nicely structured and it was interesting how it was presented. However, I've found it a bit boring and tiring to read at times. I guess it wasn't that intriguing. So, three stars out of five.
I did not think it would be possible for Yoshimoto to write a better book than Kitchen.
Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
Haunting and melancholy, Goodbye Tsugumi is a coming-of-age tale set against the vivid backdrop of the Japanese seaside.

“It’s a marvellous thing, the ocean. For some reason when two people sit together looking out at it, they stop caring whether they talk or stay silent.”

The first person narrative is told through the eyes of Maria, an only child whose father is currently married to a woman who is not her mother, a situation which necessitates their living by the seaside with relatives while h
Nafees Ahmed
The novel is passable. There are hints of great storytelling which is often muddled by poor characterization. It recounts a summer vacation of Maria and Tsugumi, and their adventure, without probing deep into what motivated their actions. Tries to cram a lot of things in a breezy read that doesn't do justice to a quirky character like Tsugumi.
Nate Yielding
Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. Banana Yoshimoto is the 3rd or 4th Japanese author I have read, and I'm noticing a trend. It's hard to describe butI'll try anyway. All of the characters I read about in these Japanese novels seem to be so clear headed, so honest in expressing their feelings, and so calm. It has the calming effect. It makes me wonder if this isn't just some coincidence in writing style but perhaps the Japanese people are just like that. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed Goodbye Tsugumi. Banana Yoshimoto ca ...more
Mar 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
“No matter where you are, you're always a bit on your own, always an outsider.”
Oct 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
I, like some of the other reviewers, was completely unable to get on-board with the story that she was attempting to tell. If it had just been the stilted affectation in the English-language dialogue, or the flagrant inconsistencies in behaviour of the characters, I might have let the piece escape the trip to the critical woodshed that I feel it deserves. But the work in its entirety was such a panoply of bad authorial/translation choices, such a rank demonstration of design flaws as to be a com ...more
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Yuki by: Goodreads
#booksiboughtonsummervacationcuzijustcantresistthetemptationduh no.7
2.5 stars


- This time, I'm really glad that Yoshimoto didn't follow her usual plot: the-daily-life-of-a-traumatized-young-woman-and-then-she-falls-in-love-with-an-equally-traumatized-and-strange-person.
- The descriptions of the sceneries, they are strangely calm and relaxing, which evoked in me a nostalgic feeling.


- Even though there are a lot of details about Tsugumi, she and other characters still lack depth, even th
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book - ever since I picked it up, years ago, it's been my go-to, feel-good novel. The story is simple, yet calming, and the characters are enough to hold the story on their own. It feels like a warm lazy summer evening, or like a cool, rainy daydream. Either way, the few hours it takes to read it are always wonderful. Soothing.

It's not fancy litterature - I wouldn't use it as a teaching tool, or even as an exemple of a 'good' book. I think it's one of these novels that either touch y
Sara-Jayne Poletti
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
I was not impressed. After hearing so many great things about Kitchen, I was really looking forward to it. And while I did admire the author's use of language at times (a blend of personal, friendly narration; gruff slang; and poetic reflections on nature), I felt the characters were thinly drawn and unsympathetic. The story felt, quite frankly, pointless--- and the ending was very odd. For literary fiction, it's certainly accessible. But what you're accessing is perhaps not particularly worth i ...more
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Typical Banana Yoshimoto story… and I mean that positively ;) It's a story about a summer vacation on an island, back in the protagonist's home town. There she spends time with Tsugumi, her friend with a particular character. True to her style, it's also a story about goodbyes, one which doesn't feel heavy at all though.

I especially liked how Banana uses smells and weather descriptions. A few simple words are enough to guide our imagination and create the scenery. It really makes me wish for sum
Books on Asia
I was blown away by this book. It will stay with me for a long, long time. It's not a perfect book; the plot got a bit weird sometimes and I detested Tsugumi. I wished the translator hadn't chosen words like babe, hag, and asshole, because I felt we got the idea of the unsavory Tsugumi even without her constantly hurling those insults at family members, which seemed so inappropriate (and even understanding they're supposed to be inappropriate). Words like "moron" and "idiot" seemed perfectly acc ...more
Hafizz Nasri
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
I love the story telling so much and the bond of friendship between Tsugumi, Maria and Yoko as well as Kyoichi. So lovely!

The whole plot was so simple yet giving me so much emotions, smile and laugh. A memory, reminiscent, a slice of life, daily encounter, that typical cultural stuff. Loving all the characters a lot-- for the simplicity, the truthfulness and personalities. Proper and neat narrative, bittersweet, weird in a way but so energetic. A fun short read!
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
I first read Kitchen coupled with Moonlight Shadow and the more time passes, the more it solidifies into one of my favorite books. This one has all the trademark characteristics of Yoshimoto's writing. It's poetry in prose, just long enough, and she plucks the tiny strings of your heart and brain exactly as they're meant to be touched weaving this complex feeling fabric that threads through everything, the plot, the characters, your own self. It's very evocative and slightly unusual. Gem is the ...more
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#supporttranslate...: Information Group Read September 2017 1 3 May 16, 2017 07:48AM  
Japanese Literature: TUGUMI, by Banana Yoshimoto 3 41 Mar 22, 2016 09:47AM  

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Banana Yoshimoto (よしもと ばなな or 吉本 ばなな) is the pen name of Mahoko Yoshimoto (吉本 真秀子), a Japanese contemporary writer. She writes her name in hiragana. (See also 吉本芭娜娜 (Chinese).)

Along with having a famous father, poet Takaaki Yoshimoto, Banana's sister, Haruno Yoiko, is a well-known cartoonist in Japan. Growing up in a liberal family, she learned the value of independence from a young age.

She gradua

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