John Sky is a Viet Nam Vet, who fell in love with Yokohama, and has committed his life to playing piano in a bar band. After an evening of performing, he and friends, like Ota—a womanizer—go from bar to bar, drinking in excess. Ota generally goes home with a new woman each night, and Sky heads home alone. Sky spends his life in a blur, a constant buzz, living for the moment, but not looking to do anything in particular with the moment of time he's in, until he meets two women and his life changes.
Sky finds himself intrigued by Sayoko, a prostitute. Night after night, she shows up at the different bars with different men. Regardless, she and Sky bond as life long friends. But there friendship was not strong enough for Sayoko to share with Sky a secret that she has kept hidden for the last few years.
Then there is Miyako. She is what they call a “bargirl” in her country. In our country, she is a barmaid. She thinks she is old in her mid-thirties and harbors a restless prejudice against Americans, until she finds herself attracted to Sky. Her own depression might be caused by the mixed marriage of her parents. Or, it might stem from her own dissatisfaction with the career she's chosen for her life.
Saffell tells his story with taut scenes descriptive narrative, and crisp dialogue. It's like reading Steinbeck, had Steinbeck of written books based in Hong Kong. The tale explores culture and racial issues. A Town Where Lights Are Blue is a character driven story that will leave the reader thinking long after they've finished reading the book.
This report prepared by Phillip Tomasso III