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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Three Reviews of A SINGLE MATCH


I have to say that I am LOVING the revamp of the comics reviews in the AV Club at the The Onion, and I'm pretty sure that the expanded section will rightly set Noel Murray as one of the country's leading thoughtful comics critics, as he has been one of my favorites for a long time. This week Murray reviews A SINGLE MATCH and deftly tackles the haunting nuances of Suzuki's short stories and states "Suzuki’s artwork alternates between conventional cartooning and panels that look more like standalone portraits, just as his text varies straight-ahead dialogue and free-floating poetic phrases. The effect is striking—a sketch of the woes and wonders of everyday life that makes room for those moments when we zone out."

Similarly, I love the revamped TCJ, also offering ample room devoted to reviews. Chris Mautner weighs in with his own review of A SINGLE MATCH and takes on the sometimes difficult but always fascinating enigma that is a Suzuki story: "Suzuki loves to draw his characters in silhouette. They are often seen in profile or from behind, walking long, thin rural roads, surrounded by a thick, inky blackness that threatens to swallow them up. Most of the stories are set in rural Japanese towns and villages, and characters often walk by vast, flat rice fields, dwarfed by nature or enveloped by the night sky... More than anything, what drives these stories is a sense of longing, whether it’s longing for childhood, missed opportunities, former lovers, or simply the past..."

They are not the only ones who have reviewed the book. The Manga Curmudgeon did, and I think captures Suzuki best: "Suzuki has a very distinct rhythm and sensibility, and it isn’t immediately accessible. His stories have a quality that’s both dreamlike and naturalistic, and it took a few stories for me to yield to the style. In dreams, you find yourself recognizing people and places you’ve never been before, accepting circumstances that are totally alien to your experience and constructing memories that you claim as your own, even though you know that they aren’t. It’s a bit unsettling to see that illogically coherent frame of reference captured so precisely on paper, and since the experience of dreams isn’t an entirely comfortable one to begin with, the feeling of unease can be magnified."

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