cover image Haruki Murakami Manga Stories

Haruki Murakami Manga Stories

Haruki Murakami, Jean-Christophe Deveney, and PMGL, trans. from the Japanese by Cathy Layne. Tuttle, $19.99 (144p) ISBN 978-4-8053-1764-8

In this adept international collaboration, a French comics team transforms four fantasy-tinted short stories by Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle) into comics, bringing his vertiginous imagination to life. A mild-mannered assistant bank manager is visited in “Super Frog Saves Tokyo Girl” by a giant Tolstoy-loving frog who recruits him to help stop an earthquake; a tough-talking volunteer detective searches for a woman’s missing husband in the digressive noir pastiche “Where I’m Likely to Find It”; “Birthday Girl” centers on a waitress and the celebratory wish she receives from her peculiar, reclusive boss; and a man is haunted by his childhood memory of a deadly typhoon in “The Seventh Man.” “What we see with our eyes is not necessarily reality,” one character warns, as these dreamlike narratives shift precipitously between reality and fantasy, the transparent and the opaque. PMGL’s art amplifies disorientation, expanding and contracting the space within panels and pushing the off-kilter character designs just past the point of typical cartoon exaggeration. He switches up art styles between stories and sometimes from scene to scene. This is a must-read for Murakami buffs and a quirky invitation into the writer’s perspective and preoccupations for newcomers. (Oct.)