Mary, a blond graduate from England, has drifted into a job in a hostess lounge in Osaka. She works for the enigmatic Mama-san and spends her evenings flirting with rich Japanese salarymen, playing drinking games and singing in the karaoke booth. Mary is in love with Yuji, Mama-san's son. But Yuji's loyalty is to the Yakuza gangster for whom he works.
Watanabe, the introverted cook, watches Mary from the kitchen. He exists in his own manga-fuelled fantasy of the fourth dimension, and believes he can see into other people's souls. When he perceives the danger of Mary's growing obsession with Yuji, he resolves to protect her whatever the cost.
Mr Sato works for the Daiwa Trading Corporation. Obsessive overwork cannot cure the emptiness of his solitary life as a salaryman. Lured against his will to the Sayonara Bar by his boss, he finds himself returning there to escape his dead wife's ghost.
Edgy, sly, often very funny, SAYONARA BAR spins a kaleidoscopic, genre-crossing tale of people cut adrift in a globalized world.
A beautifully written and far-reaching exploration of Japanese culture from first-time novelist Susan Barker
Barker has given it the pace and excitement of a thriller - or of the manga comics to which Watanabe is addicted. Funny, crisply written and engaging, Sayonora Bar offers sharp insights into some of the less palatable realities of life in 21st century Japan'
With dry humour and crisp observation, Barker conveys the inner chaos masked by the external regimens of a society where intimacy is contrived, and loyalty is strained. Japan has not, for a long time, been made to seem so accessible, or so remote
New author Susan Barker has set her edgy, sly debut in a hostess lounge
A stunningly eclectic debut. Original, often perplexing, always intriguing, Sayonara Bar is a showpiece of breathtaking new talent