booksbooksbooks // Goodbye Tsugumi

tsugumi

YES, folks! I started reading a book AND I also finished it. Now that’s an accomplishment that I hadn’t had in a year or so. How sad. But here it is, my little update on my reading challenge. 12 books in 12 months. And all will be shared on this little blog. I won’t say they’re reviews…but just a little mixture of my opinion on it, what I liked about it, maybe even a few words of wisdom I got out of them, and what they made me think of. Something along those lines. So let’s get started shall we?

Goodbye Tsugumi is one of the famous books by Japanese author Banana Yoshimoto. Yoshimoto’s most famous might be ‘Kitchen’ – one that’s on my to-read list for another time. Because yes, I liked her style of writing in Goodbye Tsugumi a lot. Even though it is translated from Japanese to English. It feels really honest, and while it seems there’s not that much happening, at the end of the book you’ve been through quite a journey somehow. There are two snippets of reviews on the back of the book that I kind of wholeheartedly agree with:

“Yoshimoto has a gift for capturing the tiny but meaningful details that shape and define our lives…” Sunday Tribune
“A sad tale of loss, memory and shifting perceptions, delicately drawn in a Japanese manner” Sunday Times

Yes. It’s that kind of book. Slow-paced, detailed, beautifully curated and yet very real. It made me think about a lot of things, but more than than: it made me concious of a few very important things. First, how I look back at my own memories. And secondly, how style of writing and choice of words can convey so much emotion. In this book we look back on the past as our protagonist (Maria) spends one more summer back at her relatives inn in a small village on the Japanese coast. It describes warm summer days, events that were etched in her memories that will make you feel like you were right there with them. It’s written in a way like you can feel the warmth of the summer sun and smell the salty air of the sea. And while you’re with her on that journey of that last summer at the inn, you feel like dealing with your own memories as well. But at the same time, you realise how hard that can be. And you decide not to bother and read on instead. Or at least, that was me.

But the book, even though these were shared memories of a completely different person than myself, took me down memory lane. It made me think of the person I was in my childhood, in my teenage years or when I started university. It made me feel a bit melancholic, but still very positive. Because the book not solely relied on the events, but on the little things. And it’s the little things that I myself try to enjoy the most of all.

I have to be honest, it took me a while to get into it. But then it was over before I knew it. It has a high reread-value. And if you’d ask me if I would recommend it, I’d 100% say yes. Even if you’re not a teenage girl, I think you’d appreciate this.

“Tsgumi never changes at all. Her love for Kyoichi, all the months and years she had spent with the rest of us, the new sequence of days that would begin when her family moved away, and Pooch – none of it changed Tsugumi at all, not deep down inside. Tsugumi hadn’t changed a bit ever since she was a child. All along she had been living in a universe of thought that was all her own, shared with no one else.”

 

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