Barefoot Gen: Life After the Bomb a Cartoon Story of Hiroshima

Keiji Kakazama, Author, Keiji Nakazawa, Author New Society Publishers $11.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-86571-148-8
The third volume in Nakazawa's ongoing chronicle of wartime Japan opens in August 1945 as young Gen, his mother and newborn sister prepare to leave the nightmarish remains of Hiroshima in search of an old family friend who may provide them with food and shelter. But the surrounding countryside, unharmed by the blast, has been overrun by refugees from the city. The rural citizens are terrified of the bomb's survivors--many are gruesomely ill with radiation sickness--and, after years of suffering from war-imposed food shorages, are suspicious, cruel and bitterly self-protective, turning away the needy Gen and his ilk. A Hiroshima survivor, Nakazawa pens a bracingly realistic tale of the human consequences of ultimate warfare; his handsome, cartoonish black-and-white illustrations richly detail WW II Japan. Young Gen's courage, determination and amiability are often melodramatically sentimental, but the apocalyptic conditions he and his family must endure are a plausible basis for his transformation from boy to man. Any comic committed to this level of unstinting verisimilitude deserves our attention. (July)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
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