Susan Barker (one of our writers)
January 2006
Black Swan

About the publication

Mary, a blond graduate from England, has drifted into a job in a hostess lounge in Osaka. She and other ‘economy geishas’ are employed by the enigmatic Mama san to spend their evenings flirting with Japanese salarymen. Mary is in love with Yuji, Mama san’s handsome son. But Yuji’s loyalty is to the Yakuza gangster for whom he works.

Watanabe, the introverted cook, watches Mary from The Sayonara Bar’s kitchen, where exists in his own manga-fuelled fantasy of the fourth dimension. When he perceives the danger Mary is in, he resolves to protect her whatever the cost.

Mr Sato works for the Daiwa Trading Corporation. Obsessive overwork cannot cover the emptiness of his solitary life. 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, and often very funny, SAYONARA BAR spins a kaleidoscopic, genre-crossing tale of people cut adrift in a shrinking, globalized world.


A beautifully written and far-reaching exploration of Japanese culture from first-time novelist Susan Barker.

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