December 14, 2007
One more from Fanfare. I ordered this one after liking Kan Takahama’s short story in Japan so much, plus I was told that I would probably like it. I did. Very much.
It’s basically just a book of short stories. They don’t have the same characters or topics, but all of them have the same sort of quiet atmosphere to them. Most only feature a few characters. A few are really unusual love stories unlike any of the usual fare I read. One features a suicide pact. One features an old couple who are admitting their love for the first time (I think). One features the manager of a bar and her fortune chestnut, though I’m not entirely certain who she wound up with in the end.
The stories are all quite subtle. They don’t really tell you anything overtly, and there are a couple where you’re left to draw your own conclusions, be they obvious or otherwise, though there are a few where I think the most obvious conclusion may not be the correct one. There is one with a little girl and her friends and mom where I have no idea how it ended. I still liked it, though.
There is one autobiographical story about Kan Takahama celebrating her birthday, and while all her friends are over, they witness the September 11th attacks. That was something I really didn’t see coming.
The art is also quite good. Takahama has a really smooth style, and a lot of the stories stand almost entirely on art – there are several where not much dialogue passes between characters, or the dialogue isn’t really about what’s going on. It is also almost entirely responsible for the quiet, sad atmosphere that is more or less present through all the stories.