Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 22: Barefoot Gen

For my birthday, i was stoked to receive from my brother a couple graphic novels which i've been interested in for a long time, about life in Hiroshima before and after the holocaust.

He read the largely autobiographical Barefoot Gen some time ago, and reported that he had to stop reading it before bed because it started giving him such bad dreams. i heard a detail or 2 about a physically and emotionally devastated population of people who had no idea what radiation was or the sickness it inflicted. Anyhow, my interest was piqued.

i finished book one recently, and concur, the book is hard to put down. Even before the bomb, life in wartime Japan was hellish enough, particularly if your father doesn't support the wall, your family is labeled traitors, the father is badly beaten by the police, children are constantly fighting over food, etc etc.

It's all pretty intense, and the narrative is overflowing with details about the stress and trauma of wartimes. And that's all before Little Boy, made its descent on its unsuspecting victims, whereupon life takes a turn for the horrific. An immense flash of heat turns people into monsters with their skin all dripping off their faces and bodies, stumbling through a flattened city to find water, loved ones, and racing fire.

Anyhow. Sorry if i spoiled it. There's a big bomb that happens near the end. Of book 1. There's 9 parts more to follow.

Also, i'm keen to go to Japan sooner or later, and Hiroshima was already pretty high on my list of locales.

If you can find it, it's def worth a read.

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