Saturday, January 11, 2014


by Yoshihiro Tatsumi

I'm pretty sure that, with Good-Bye, I've now read all of Drawn & Quarterly's collections of Yoshihiro Tatsumi's manga that have been published so far.  Tatsumi really is a marvel, and I consider myself lucky to have been able to have read so much of his work.

Lucky, and kind of depressed, as his stories are all about people who have been brutally isolated by modern, post-war Japanese society.  In one story, a man mourning his upcoming retirement decides to spend all of his money so that his cold and controlling wife doesn't get any of it, and even manages to end up in bed with the girl he's had a crush on, only to find the entire thing so incredibly sad and empty.

Another story has a young man become the only resident of his apartment building, after a corpse is discovered in the adjoining apartment.  In another tale, a young woman decides to prostitute herself out to American soldiers stationed nearby, mostly because she doesn't know what else to do with herself.

This is a very bleak book, and with its frank and sometimes explicit approach to sexuality, not at all what I would have expected to have been published in Japan in the 70s.  These are very literary and mature stories, and reading them in quick succession is a little numbing, but ultimately in a good way.

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