At the center of the story is Mary, a graduate student from England who has taken a job at a hostess lounge in Osaka, Japan, so that she can earn money to travel the globe. Unfortunately, she has fallen in love with Yuji, Mama-san's son, who has an uneasy alliance with the Yakuza. Watanabe, a somewhat diffident cook who works at the Sayonara Bar, has also taken an interest in Mary, and supposedly he can see into a fourth dimension, a manga-infused dimension which allows one to see danger before it happens. And then there is Mr. Sato, who has become a regular at Sayonara Bar, as he tries to escape his wife's ghost. When Yuji crosses the Yakuza, it has dire consequences for them all, and their lives become irrevocably intertwined in this wonderfully imagined debut novel by Susan Barker.
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Susan Barker, author of Sayonara Bar and The Incarnations, was born in 1978. She graduated from Leeds University and taught English in Japan for two years before returning to the U.K. She lives in East London.From Publishers Weekly:
British author Barker's piquant debut chronicles the life of Mary, a young Englishwoman working as a hostess at the Sayonara Bar in Osaka, Japan. Though not a prostitute, Mary is paid an hourly wage to flirt and converse with the bar's customers, primarily middle-aged Japanese businessmen. Her colleagues include Katya, a Ukrainian hostess, and Watanabe, the Sayonara's cook, who keeps a watchful eye over Mary and believes that he's an "intermediary between the third and fourth dimension." Barker precisely draws her characters, emphasizing their innermost thoughts and desires. Mr. Sato, a widower, has vivid dreams about his deceased wife even as he's attracted to Mariko, a bar hostess who claims to be conversing with his ghostly wife. As the tension builds among the characters, Yuji, Mary's boyfriend, is caught stealing from his boss. An enigmatic yet riveting climax brings this highly unusual view of Japanese society to a fitting close. (Mar.)
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Book Description St. Martin's Griffin, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110312362102
Book Description St. Martin's Griffin. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0312362102 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0088957