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The Walking Man (book review) Jirō Taniguchi

270719 much later later addition: i look at this again, slip back into that meditating calmness, now read more books fiction and non, looked more graphics, and there is not much to add to previous reviews. favorite graphics for my mom, i can see why, as it is pleasant, simple, everyday life rendered with delicacy... i still love it...

010815 later addition: i ordered this at the u bookstore, just in, some time after looking at a library copy back in june, and this was not a mistake. i have never been to japan, but recognize the meditative existential pleasures of aimless, content, curious walking, and these images capture that simple joy. this work has virtually no dialogue, not much plot, but rendered with acute detail, such that i enjoy looking at each scene again and again. this is sort of an object case when i declare in graphic work it is not the story, not the action, but each graphic portrait that i most love. if i want a story i can read, if passing images i can watch a film. here, in close, still inspection there is this other pleasure. in graphics, again, how the story is told is what the story is told...

there are beautiful images, resonant images, that capture moments of gentle grace, everything from climbing a tree to rescue a model aircraft, there resting in a high seat formed by large branches, to swimming alone in an empty civic pool at night, to walking through neighbourhoods in a starry night, to resting on cherry blossoms, to a quiet, still, morning stroll through residential area. these images remind me of when in a high school art class, the teacher wanted us to create a story in images, something of which i had no idea, for when my brother and me were old enough to read word books, my mom would not let us read graphic work (comics). so i ended up writing a story, finding images of ocean waves, as this was a central metaphor. but this book is what i would do now, if i could. these images remind me not of all the japanese movies seen but instead the very immediate horror of the tsunami a few years back, and the way that Fukushima looked before and after...

there is great thoughtful pleasure in just looking, with minimal comment, minimal dialogue, when there is no particular narrative, no representations of plot, but just the world we too often accept blindly. this is one of my favourite graphic works. yes, partly in that it is what i would draw, partly that it performs that familiar, essential, alchemy of all art: transforming leaden existential reality to golden lyric art...

100615 first review: what i would draw, what i would have wanted to draw, line or contour, black ink white paper, rare washes... who needs a plot when you can create such luminous images...

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