Sayonara, Tsunami Bar

Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, Susan Barker had to choose Tsunami Bar as the title of her debut novel. Her manuscript was the talk of the 2003 Frankfurt Book Fair, and her publisher, Doubleday, had high hopes for it. But after the Dec. 26 tsunami devastated large parts of Asia, Doubleday felt compelled to select a new name, delay publication for a month, and go through the manuscript, changing scores of references to the eponymous Osaka hostess lounge where much of the action takes place.

Despite that setback, the book...

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