BOOK REVIEW: Barefoot Gen, vols. 1 & 2

Barefoot Gen, Volume One by Keiji Nakazawa

Barefoot Gen is truly amazing. This Japanese graphic novel focuses upon a WWII-era Hiroshima family’s experiences leading up to the dropping of the atomic bomb.

Nakazawa’s illustrations are done in the very cartoony, old-school anime style. That’s what makes it even more jarring to see the characters coping with starvation, disease, unspeakable cruelty and suffering.

(This review originally appeared at goodreads.com)

Barefoot Gen Volume Two: The Day After

Barefoot Gen vol. 2 exceeds its amazing predecessor. This Japanese graphic novel focuses upon a WWII-era Hiroshima family’s devastation after the explosion of the atomic bomb.

Nakazawa’s illustrations are done in the very cartoony, old-school anime style. That’s what makes it even more jarring to see the characters enduring unspeakable suffering. Don’t be fooled by the cutsey character design and think you’re in for an easy read. Think maggots crawling in open wounds, skin peeling off limbs, and a little boy carrying his family members’ bones around in a bucket.

Barefoot Genis a tremendous resource for driving home the human costs of war. It is essential reading for peace and nuclear disarmament advocates. It also caused in me some rather vivid nightmares.

(This review originally appeared at goodreads.com)

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