Eddie Watkins's Reviews > A Drifting Life

A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi
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's review
Sep 29, 2014

liked it
bookshelves: manga-comics
Read in October, 2009

Masterful, but after speedily flipping through 1 5/16” of its 2 1/16” thickness boredom set in. And reading this in conjunction with Gaddis’ JR (one of whose themes is how money crowds out all other subjects) did not help matters, for A Drifting Life is a bildungsroman but instead of focusing on the artist’s emotional or psychic life it concerns itself almost entirely with how the artist constantly adapts to please the public and convert that public interest into money. This does not particularly interest me. Though there were elements of objective interest in its depictions of the ins and outs of the various publishing industries in post-War Japan, and there is a nice “time-line” effect with major historical and cultural events dropped into the narrative, and I was fascinated with how manga (a comic form that at the time seemed like nothing more than book length collections of Dubble Bubble comics) could have been so popular. The only bildungs part of the roman that I unconditionally liked was the sexual awakening part, which was slightly strange and was handled sharply, but unfortunately only occupied about 1/32”.

A book for and about manga wonks.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Kimley (new)

Kimley You made my brain hurt with all that math! But "manga wonks" made me laugh.

Eddie Watkins I did want to emphasize the sheer thickness of this book. Something has to be done about these 2 1/16" thick graphic novels that take 255 minutes to read!

message 3: by Kimley (new)

Kimley Yes, as I recall, Tosh complained that this book was difficult for him to read in the tub - his favorite reading place.

One does need to find the balance between physical heft and intellectual return on investment.

Eddie Watkins It's a terrible bath tub book. It's not only too heavy, but it's such a quick read you'd always have to be releasing one or the other hand to turn the pages. I don't know how it could end up in anything but a splashy disaster.

message 5: by D. (new)

D. Pow I have a writing teacher who refuses to read any hardbacks because they require too much physical effort. When you read them before bed they can physically cause you pain when you prop them on your chest.

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