Volume 1 of Mizuki’s fast forwarding epic about both Japan’s history and his own childhood is entertaining. For a reader lacking even basic information on Japan’s history, it shows the imperialist, aggressive and militarist Japan, guided by false high ideas and ideals. I guess I never knew they had that many attempted coups in just a few years.
What I am certain of – I think Mizuki is willing to diminish or somehow not focus too much on some of the crimes of his people in those years leading to the big war – the rape of Nanjing, for instance, deserved just a page, and that page was not graphic enough for my taste.
His childhood stories, though, are much more easy-going and fun. Oh well. Let’s see what volume 2 brings.
As much as I like all of Irvine Welsh's prolific literary work of the past two decades, it pains me to admit that this is probably his weakest novel.
No, it's still a fun read, as it has the traditional Welsh ingredients in the mix – narrated in the first person by multiple characters, who are full of cynicism, irony and spite. Welsh likes people who defecate in words – and not a single soul spared, oh no.
Plus, given my 4-hour body diet affections, all that get-the-lardass-byatch-to-lose-weight-while-punching-calories-in-the-iPhone psyche stroke a chord with me.
But all of that is not why it's his weakest. The story – the real welshian story, with all its typical shocking brutality, anger and vengeance – it just starts too late. Which, in contrast with a true no holds barred Korean action movie styled chapter one, is a pity. I guess not enough cheap thrills for me, huh.
Still, I wouldn't call it a miss – and I still will avidly consume every piece of Leith or Miami trash that Welsh may throw at me in the future, and chew on it with determination and glee. May strike you as odd, but he is probably the only writer on this sad lonely planet whose every book was devoured by yours truly. I mean, every. Some come close to that – i.e. I read tons of Miller's and Mamet's plays, or Limonov's self praising novels, or Mendoza's barcelonese stories, both serious and funny – but definitely I missed quite a few. Jonathan Littell is in the same league, with every book as well (or so I think at least), but he has written much less. Well, I guess I got too hooked on Welsh's eurotrash stories at high school. Go figure.