Sayonara Gangsters

Sayonara Gangsters is one of those rare books that actually defies description. I’ve wanted many times, to encourage friends to read it, but when they inevitably ask what it’s about, and what it’s ‘like’, all I can say is ‘read it’. It’s funny, sure. And beautiful. And slightly insane. And haunting. And heart-breaking. But all those words miss the point. The point is you have to read it. So read it.

Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Everything is illuminated

This recommendation is the only reason I borrowed this book from JF-Library. I have no idea what’s it about. The recommendation really arouses my curiosity. The book is written by Genichiro Takahashi. It’s a postmodernism literary book, something I have never read before. When I borrowed it, I was hoping that I will be able to finish this book.

The story happens in the future where gangster rules the world, where people barely have real name anymore. People are naming themselves now. The main character is a man who works in a poetry school, a poetry school like no other poetry school. This book has three parts.

Part one is In Search of “The Nakajima Miyuki Song Book”. “The Nakajima Miyuki Song Book” (it then shortens into Song Book) is the name of a woman given by the main character. The man himself is given name “Sayonara Gangster” by Song Book. The two of them meet after the main character lost his daughter. Song Book used to be a gangster.

Part two is The Poetry School. This part is about the main character’s job in the Poetry School. A school which usually consist of 1 student at a time. His job is more than teaching poetry, he is listening more than teaching. The students are ranging from small boy to incomprehensible thing, from old lady to ancient poet who turned into a refrigerator.

Part three is Sayonara Gangsters. This part is about what happen to Song Book when the gangsters finally find her. It is also about the life of the main character after he is left by Song Book.

What is my impression of this book???

It’s bizarre!! Unlike anything I have ever read before. But somehow I enjoy the weirdness of this book. It gives new essence in the whole literary I have ever read. Just like Jonathan Safran Foer said, this book is a bit difficult to describe…all you have to do is read it and find it out for yourself!!

The writing is also unusual, Genichiro Takahashi sometimes put only 1 sentence in a page and left the rest of the page blank. You can also find a lot of pages that only half page are filled. Although it’s a book with plot, I sometimes fell like reading poetry rather than a novel.

I guess the notion of “Don’t judge the book by its cover” rarely happen to me, because this book is one of many books that I picked only based on the cover or the recommendation on the cover and I have no regret of ever read this great book.

I rate this book 

This is also my 6th book for Japanese Literature Challenge 3


  1. This sounds fantastic… Bizarre and weird sounds interesting and it still has a plot. An the thing about the ancient poet who has turned into a refrigerator. I want to read it.

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