Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto

The Book:

Tsugumi and Maria are cousins. Tsugumi suffers from an unknown ailment and her family expects her to die any moment, so they pamper her. Since her family fulfills all her needs, Tsugumi turns out to be an annoying and rude women. Maria lives in the same Yamamoto inn as Tsugumi with her unwed mother and happens to be one of the recipients of Tsugumi’s wrath. When one of her pranks gets Maria angry Tsugumi asks for sorry and the relationship between the two women take a change for the better.

They are good friends and while Maria occasionally gets irritated by her behavior she can’t help but worry about Tsugumi’s health. She also takes a lot of life’s lessons from Tsugumi. Will the ailment finally kill Tsugumi or will she continue to taunt Maria and keep this unique relationship alive?

The View:

I wandered in the library for hours disappointed with myself on the slow progress I am making with some challenges until I made up my mind to target one or two challenges this month and complete them. I noticed that the AtoZ challenge has just been lying there so I walked through the aisles in search of a ‘Y’ author. Surprise!! There are authors whose name starts with ‘Y’ and even a ‘Z’. This is precisely how I checked out ‘Goodbye Tsugumi’ by Banana Yoshimoto.

‘Goodbye Tsugumi’ is a book that is so simple and yet so complex. The best word to describe this book would be ‘captivating’ and that is rarely a used description. The plot is simple – Girl is sick and uses it to her advantage by being loud and annoying. Her cousin Maria spends time with her and understands her for who she is. Then what makes this book complex? It is the protagonist and the different layers of her personality. The captivating factor is in the beauty with which the characters, events and locations have been portrayed. As much as I found Tsugumi annoying I looked at her from a different perspective very soon and when I closed the book I wanted to know more about her.

Tsugumi is by far the most interesting and exciting character I have met in the last few books read. She has a personality that could have you running for cover when she intends too, yet her inner strength and sheer determination to live life is commendable. Beautiful, young but sick, Tsugumi has an excuse for being cruel and foul-mouthed. Maria’s understanding for Tsugumi is splendidly justified and makes you look at both the women and their relationships differently.

Rated a 4 on 5. I just picked this book up on a whim but I enjoyed it tremendously. The book lacks a ‘happening’ plot but is carried forward by the sheer simplicity of the characters, story, location and writing. The delicate writing surely cast this book in the ‘must-read’ pile.


kavyen

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