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Sayonara, Gangsters Hardcover – Apr 1 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vertical (April 1 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932234055
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932234053
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 14.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #542,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

By "gerasimo" on April 24 2004
Format: Hardcover
i read this book last weekend, in one sitting. once you start, you won't want to put it down. and once you do put it down, it will stay with you for a long time, different parts echoing in your head. it's an incredibly funny book, but funny with pathos, threaded with an immense sadness. it's also incredibly timely, and very politically oriented in a wacky, all-over-the-place kind of a way. as jonathan safran foer says in his blurb on the back, it's a book that can't really be described. you just have to read it. i promise you won't regret it.
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By Leo on April 16 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have never read anything like this book, and I doubt I'll ever have a chance to read anything like it again---at least not until I go back and reread it. And I know I will. Many, many times.
Certain sections and scenes, especially in the second part, and the quirky/sad/hilarious/devastating language in which this book is written keep echoing through my head, so that I actually feel like carrying this book around with me to take out for a moment on the subway or in the elevator on my way up to the office. I want to have it on hand when I need it.
This is the kind of book I NEEDED right now. The whole thing with the "gangsters" and the speech by the President of the United States at the beginning and the feeling of despair at being unable to make things happen resonate with what we are going through right now in the US in a way that is absolutely eery and astonishing, considering that the book was first published in Japan in 1982.
I heard Takahashi read in March. I went on a whim because I saw the event listed in The Village Voice. And even though I couldn't understand his Japanese and had no idea WHAT he was saying until the translator, Michael Emmerich, read his English version (which is incredible!), I still GOT something out of the Japanese-language part of the program. I got the sense that THIS GUY IS THE REAL THING. His voice was tingling with energy. I don't know why it took so long for this book to be translated (maybe the right translator just never came along until now? I certainly have never read any translation like this), but I know that I want to read more. Right now this book is the only one available; fortunately, it's the sort of "novel" that will be completely new next time.
Read more ›
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By "abraxxas" on April 14 2004
Format: Hardcover
a collection of absurdist sketches and/or short meditations with almost no plot, few characters save the narrator, and endless references to milestones in literary history shouldn't really amount to an amazing novel. and yet genichiro does it, and effortlessly (aided no doubt by the excellent translation by michael emmerich; i am familiar with some of the original and translating this book is no easy feat). a super fast and intensely thought provoking read, crystal clear in its reserved ambiguity.
just read it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 14 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
"Conventional wisdom has it that people who read novels..." Oct. 25 2004
By Jonathan E. Shapiro - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"...stop being able to make accurate judgments, you know."

Extremely strange, yet approachable novel about a poetry teacher who constantly frets over his lack of purpose in an insane world where everyone finds out when they're going to die and cats have favorite authors. It seems to be an anology for both modern writing and living in a police state. Like Kurt Vonnegut, Takahashi buries what may be a very personal story beneath lots of fantastic, "out there" elements. I enjoyed it, although this is definitely a "cult" book, and I don't see it appealing to mass audiences. Still, I'd love to see more works from the author get translated into English.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
amazing April 14 2004
By "abraxxas" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
a collection of absurdist sketches and/or short meditations with almost no plot, few characters save the narrator, and endless references to milestones in literary history shouldn't really amount to an amazing novel. and yet genichiro does it, and effortlessly (aided no doubt by the excellent translation by michael emmerich; i am familiar with some of the original and translating this book is no easy feat). a super fast and intensely thought provoking read, crystal clear in its reserved ambiguity.
just read it.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
a definite must read April 24 2004
By "gerasimo" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
i read this book last weekend, in one sitting. once you start, you won't want to put it down. and once you do put it down, it will stay with you for a long time, different parts echoing in your head. it's an incredibly funny book, but funny with pathos, threaded with an immense sadness. it's also incredibly timely, and very politically oriented in a wacky, all-over-the-place kind of a way. as jonathan safran foer says in his blurb on the back, it's a book that can't really be described. you just have to read it. i promise you won't regret it.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
WOW! April 16 2004
By Leo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have never read anything like this book, and I doubt I'll ever have a chance to read anything like it again---at least not until I go back and reread it. And I know I will. Many, many times.
Certain sections and scenes, especially in the second part, and the quirky/sad/hilarious/devastating language in which this book is written keep echoing through my head, so that I actually feel like carrying this book around with me to take out for a moment on the subway or in the elevator on my way up to the office. I want to have it on hand when I need it.
This is the kind of book I NEEDED right now. The whole thing with the "gangsters" and the speech by the President of the United States at the beginning and the feeling of despair at being unable to make things happen resonate with what we are going through right now in the US in a way that is absolutely eery and astonishing, considering that the book was first published in Japan in 1982.
I heard Takahashi read in March. I went on a whim because I saw the event listed in The Village Voice. And even though I couldn't understand his Japanese and had no idea WHAT he was saying until the translator, Michael Emmerich, read his English version (which is incredible!), I still GOT something out of the Japanese-language part of the program. I got the sense that THIS GUY IS THE REAL THING. His voice was tingling with energy. I don't know why it took so long for this book to be translated (maybe the right translator just never came along until now? I certainly have never read any translation like this), but I know that I want to read more. Right now this book is the only one available; fortunately, it's the sort of "novel" that will be completely new next time. If you still haven't had the fantastic, heart-wrenching, hilarious experience of reading it, order it. Right now. I promise you, it's just what you need.
If you were a friend of mine, I'd give you a copy of Sayonara, Gangsters. That's how good this book is.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Clever, then too clever, then tedious Jan. 15 2008
By Jed Verity - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have a love-hate relationship with postmodern fiction, so if you're the type that only loves or only hates the genre, you'll likely rate this book a 5 or 1, respectively. Of course, there is no identifiable plot, so stop right now if you require your books to have a plot. For me, the style maintains its freshness for the first 75 pages or so, after which it gets tired. If I told you that there are certain parts of the book written from the perspective of a refrigerator or a race horse, you might be intrigued. I was. But after pages and pages of it, the humor never quite achieving true funniness or quirkiness but almost getting there, again, the intrigue tires.

Having said that, a number of the anecdotes are very enjoyable and the writing is mostly excellent. If you feel like everything you've read recently is the same as everything else, you might enjoy this as a taste of something different. If you feel that everything you've read recently is deliberately trying to be different from everything else, you will very likely not enjoy this.

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