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A Drifting Life [Anglais] [Broché]

Yoshihiro Tatsumi

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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  24 commentaires
13 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Wonderful look into the struggle of a manga artist 15 juillet 2009
Par Parka - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
For those who follow the work of Yoshihiro Tatsumi, this book is a treat. It's a wonderful manga memoir that took almost 10 years to create. The main protagonist is no other than Yoshihiro himself, using another name of Hiroshi Katsumi.

In this book, he explores the journey he took to become a manga artist. It's an inspiring tale that looks into his relationship with his family, friend, fellow manga artists and publishers. The book title is apt as we see how Katsumi "drifts" along in his life, making the numerous career moves. Most of the time, you'll feel the doubt and uncertainty as he felt within the panels.

The book, at over 800 pages, is smartly inserted with historical events to portray the passing of time. It starts in 1948 and ends, a bit abruptly, in 1960 where Katsumi took part in the demonstration against the Security Treaty. Throughout the book, we also learn how manga has evolved and affected the artists.

I'll recommended this book to anyone who wishes to know Yoshihiro Tatsumi a little better, or a little bit of Japanese manga history.

(More pictures are available on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
19 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A Recommendable Classic with Some Drawbacks 17 juin 2009
Par David M. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Manga legend Yoshihiro Tatsumi chronicles his life and career in post-war Japan as an ever struggling artist attempting to rediscover both himself and his craft, intertwining his autobiography with the history of Manga. These two narratives are backdropped by the reconstruction of Japan in the post-war period as it struggles to regain national pride while at once being influenced by foreign works such as Western films, animation, and later the hard-boiled realism of American detective comics. Tatsumi (who is depicted in the story as Hiroshi Katsumi) begins his career as a Manga artist as early as middle school, where he and his younger brother write postcard Manga everyday for submission in monthly regional Manga magazines. By the time he was in his second year of high school, Tatsumi was already a fairly well known Manga artist who would begin to tip-toe into the same elite social circle as acclaimed Manga artist Osamu Tezuka. Tezuka became Tatsumi's mentor during his formative years in high school and early college and was his lifelong inspiration.

The graphic novel traces Tatsumi's early obsession with Manga as a neophyte in middle school and early college through his development and maturity as a renowned and daringly experimental artist. The work starts off slowly and repetitively, as the reader is taken through rejection letter after rejection letter from various publishers as Tatsumi attempts to kick-start his career. The novel is at its strongest when detailing the chronology of these influences on Tatsumi and Japanese culture at large. The story is one part autobiography, one part Manga almanac, one part history book: it references significant events in Tatsumi's life, such as his parents' failed marriage; events in Manga publication history, complete with replicated cover illustrations and publication dates of influential Manga; and milestones in art and culture, such as reproductions of General Douglas MacArthur's retirement speech from his post in Japan and a photograph of Elvis Presley taking his Army physical examination. At certain points, Tatsumi illustrates popular television figures as they were seen by viewers of that time period, complete with highly interlaced lines of blurred cathray tubed television. The result is very impressive and is a welcomed break from Tatsumi's very generic looking characters.

My major gripe with the work is the lack of in-depth psychological development. Tatsumi begins tracing his psychological development by describing the frictions in his parents marriage caused by his father's failure as a businessman. Furthermore, the narrative alludes to his father maintaining multiple affairs with supposed business partners. We are told the author was too young to realize the true nature of his father's relationships with these women until he became much older. However, Tatsumi never delineates when he finally understood his father's connection to these women and how it affected him and his family. This is altogether unfortunate, as one later finds that Tatsumi's brewing frustration and isolation are foundational to his creation of a new aesthetic theory for Manga, which he calls "Gekiga." Since adolescence, Tatsumi's relationships with women are marked by timidity and apprehension, causing him to retreat more and more deeply into the world of Manga. As Tatsumi's skill and reputation within the world of Manga continues arising, so does his dissatisfaction with it. He wishes to move away from the slapstick humor characterized by most panel and short-length works, and create a style of Manga that captures the psychological state of its characters and to deal with subject matters relating to everyday life. Tatsumi looks towards American and French cinema for inspiration for this new aesthetic, which could be understood as a form of realism (although that term is never used in the novel itself). The new Manga genre became so influential and controversial that politicians and advocacy groups began to demand it be pulled off of shelves and out of the hands of children. Many in Tatsumi's group were blacklisted. My dissatisfaction occurs with Tatsumi's reluctance to reveal the entire theory behind his aesthetic. Although the narrative tells us he used cinematic still frames and designs between panels to create psychological ambience, we are never told that the real meat and potatoes of his new genre lay behind his choice of subject matter. Although I haven't read any of Tatsumi's other works, summaries of his other works, such as Good-Bye, Abandon the Old in Tokyo, and The Push Man and Other Stories expose a writer willing to tackle taboo subjects such as sexuality, Hiroshima, and the inner torment of apparently normal, everyday people. For an artist who is so concerned and contemplative about the common man, there is not much in the book that elucidates his drawing from experiences with people he encountered to use as psychological models for his characters. Tatsumi does a fine job recording the artistic and commercial development of Manga, but falters when he attempts (or neglects) to capture the subjective experiences which are at the heart of his interpretation of Manga.

A Drifting Life is nonetheless a recommendable book for anyone interested in Manga or the history of literature (I fit more closely into the latter category). It places Manga in its context in the history of the Japanese reconstruction after the Second World War and argues for Manga as a powerful and legitimate medium to redefine the voice of a generation juxtaposed between an isolationist history and a heavily commercialized and commodified future.
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18 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great 18 avril 2009
Par Albert - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Incredible and inspiring to see young Katsumi so driven as a high schooler! He was dealing with becoming a professional writer at age 19, an age at which most of his contemporaries in the US are warming seats in creative writing workshops. Especially moving was the part when he felt adrift, because of his transition from writing purely for fun to writing for money. This a true portrait of an artist -- one who works for the love of his work and to put food on the table.
The book is drawn well, and constantly puts the young Katsumi's struggles in historical context. LOVE IT.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Epic scope of an artist's life 10 août 2009
Par Sibelius - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
First off let me start by saying that I have been a big fan of the earlier Drawn & Quarterly collections of Tatsumi's work. Those collected works were gritty and unfiltered in portraying the despair and ugliness that lurks just beneath the surface of the veneer of normality - and for myself it is that 'peek' beyond the curtain that defines the brilliance of Tatsumi's story and art craft. "A Drifting Life" is a different reading experience being that it is an auto-biographical graphic novel chronicling Tatsumi's life from childhood into adulthood and primarily focusing on his interest in the medium of comics and how he built his career along the way. Keep in mind that this is a mammoth book - taking up 834 pages to tell the story. Tatsumi's simplistic and clean art style remains intact but the story and characterizations seem somewhat sanitized in comparison to the D&Q collections. The first 2/3rd's of this book is an engaging and engrossing coming of age tale that will appeal to anyone that experienced a creativity inspired childhood but the weakness in his story mostly takes place in the final third - this section was a bit too focused on the minutiae of the rapidly growing and evolving state of the Japanese manga industry and while i certainly recognize that there is an audience who will relish such focus on detail, ultimately it couldn't hold my interest to the very end. Still, I would highly recommend this book to anyone aspiring to a life in the creative world of comics and writing along with scholars of Japan's Post WWII evolution.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Pure and simple, a masterwork 16 novembre 2009
Par Aaron C. Brown - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
There have been many attempts at autobiographical graphic novels, Binky Brown and I Saw It among the earliest and Maus the best-known. I think it's fair to say that only fans of the genre and people interested in the specific issues explored were enthusiastic about these books.

Yoshihiro Tatsumi has created something totally different, a memoir that speaks to everyone, in totally original form. He tells an absorbing story using a few simple words and a few simple lines. He uses panels to pace the story, to focus details, to show facial expression, to convey emotion; in ways distinct from written autobiographies, but also distinct from film-makers, painters, photographers and anyone else who ever tried to use art to convey the feeling and meaning of a life.

I feel the reviewers complaining about the lack of depth are missing the point. The author's technique cannot go below the surface, he's drawing pictures. He can use those pictures to suggest depths, but not to explore them. A writer can spend thousands of words (or more) describing internal psychological states or conveying depth in other ways. Other graphic novelists, and also film-makers and painters, attempt to do the same by leaving realism behind or by including a lot of detail. Tatsumi confines himself to simple realism, but realism as perceived at the time, and stripped down to essential lines. He tells us what he saw and leaves it to us to imagine what went on below (and above, and before, and after).

To take one example, a historian might want to know the name and background of the waitress in the restaurant beneath his apartment who tries to seduce him with comic results. An artist might paint a haunting evocation of youth and inexperience and lust. Tatsumi draws her as he saw her, essentials only, few facts and no reliable ones. Was she young and pretty, confident and cheerful, hardworking and promiscuous? We know he thought so at the time, nothing more, but also nothing less. He conveys the episode not in one detailed picture, but in a dozen quick sketches, with word balloons and backdrops. In this way we learn about his life in a different manner than any previous autobiographical work of art, we learn different aspects than we have ever encountered.

This is not only a book for Manga fans. It's a story anyone can understand. The pain of having your ideas ignored or misunderstood. The pleasure of winning some degree of acceptance, and the frustration when others twist it for their own ends (but at the same time, the temptation of letting them do it, to gain recognition and money at the expense of artistic purity). The complex personal relationships, often searing, sometimes wondrous. The ups and downs of collaboration. The enigma of other people, those we love, those we respect and those we fear. All this with a backdrop of Japanese history and culture, a boy growing up, and an art form evolving.

This is an extraordinary masterwork. It takes only a couple of hours to read and you will be drawn into it in a different manner from anything else you've ever experienced.
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