The Strange Tale of Panorama Island

Suehiro Maruo, Author
Suehiro Maruo. Last Gasp, $24.95 (274p) ISBN 978-0-86719-777-8
Reviewed on: 06/17/2013
Release date: 07/01/2013
Hardcover - 272 pages - 978-0-86719-732-7
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Cult manga artist Maruo delivers a sprawling and nightmarish tour de force of erotic fantasy. Adapted from the 1920s novella by Japanese author Edogawa Rampo—a popular detective novelist who took a Poe-esque turn toward the grotesque and fantastical—Maruo follows the story of Hitomi, a desperate would-be novelist who tries to turn his life around by taking advantage of his strong resemblance to Komoda, the recently deceased son of a wealthy industrialist. After digging up Komoda’s corpse and tearing out a tooth and replacing it with a fake one from Komoda’s corpse, Hitomi poses as the dead man returned with surprising ease. The dreamlike quality of the narrative intensifies as the imposter announces he will use his new family’s industrial power and wealth to build a glorious paradisiacal retreat on a nearby island. This quixotic quest will be as baffling to readers as to his advisors. But once Maruo delivers the island itself, its otherworldly beauties and wonders make up for any plot deficiencies. Maruo’s debt to the erotic-grotesque (ero-guro) school of manga is apparent throughout, with inexplicable turns of plot alternating with stabs of extreme violence and boundary-pushing sex. As in Poe’s most memorable work, the only rules of logic this story follows are its own. (July)
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