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The Strange Tale of Panorama Island (book review) Suehiro Maruo

Ryan Sands (Translator), Kyoko Nitta (Translator)

200614: reread and reaffirm favoritegraphic, this time notice setup more, very japanese grisly, fantastic, origin/crime and then later murder, everything is for art. no morals. no arguments. just art...

160906: this is the first edogawa rampo i have read. set in 1920s Japan this reminds me not of Poe but of surrealist and decadent authors. books lthat involve usage of great wealth to create some garden or landscape 'cabinet of curiosities'. i think of raymond roussell's 'locus solus' but set in Japan, in which an entire island is transformed into an 'adult' amusement park...

i like this more than written work primarily as the graphic work is very effective, very surreal. there is little reference to the world before our artist protagonist fakes his own death and resurrection as a wealthy aristocrat. we know he is impoverished and no one wants his writing. we know he writes and dreams extravagant fantasies. we watch him pretend to be the industrialist, even as his motivation is to change an entire island to his ideal...

i call it a favouritegraphic because i really do not see it working except in this format: visual, fantastic, more dream than reality, no long passages of mechanics by which he uses wealth, no real development of characters- just images. as a book it would not be such spectacle. as film it would be a passing series of tableau which would not be always there to return to, it would just flash by. so the story is not a story, the characters flat and/or crazed, the island and 'panorama' has no rational meaning or purpose, the wealth is just a free pass to bringing the world of dreams to life. the graphic artwork is representational, realistic, probably more what Japanese readers expect, with the dream world as coherent as our version of 1920s Japan...

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