You know: in a foolish, undiscriminating way, I've been happy these last few months. I don't know why. I just am. I love my friends; I love my pupils; I love what I read; I -- dammit -- love my thoughts. I love the taste of oranges.
Thornton Wilder in a letter to Gertrude Stein, Aug 14, 1936

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Uzumaki, Volume 3Uzumaki, Volume 3 by Junji Ito
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Things have gone from bad to worse in the fog-bound  Kurozu-cho, the Japanese city cursed by the Spiral -- yes that seemingly inoffensive pattern that is literally twisting the lives of these unfortunate citizens all out of shape. A sense that something is wrong in Kurozu-cho has reached the outside world, but aid workers are either caught up in whirlwinds or sunk in maelstroms. Those that make it through find themselves trapped as well.

This is Vol. 3 of Ito's manga. I read the first volume and couldn't find a copy of the second, but I can't imagine that whatever weirdness takes place in between can come close to the apocalyptic visions of the finale. All modern construction in Kurozu-cho has been destroyed by whirlwinds that arise from the slightest movements or sounds the inhabitants make. Thuggish kids older lowlifes have learned to ride the whirlwinds and direct them toward their old schools and the civic buildings. Watching all this, even the nice boy who is one our heros can't help but comment, "Hmm, looks like fun." The only buildings not affected by the whirlwinds are the oldest, wooden row houses scattered through the city. But as citizens cram into them for safety, you learn a new and disgusting connotation for the idea of social entanglements.

Question: Is it cannibalism if your neighbors have turned into giant snails? Or does it come down to just the issue of roasted or raw?

The cosmic finale is more about resignation than transcendence, although the latter does play a role. It would take Hollywood to give this one a happy ending.

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