Nijigahara Holograph

Inio Asano, Author, Matt Thorn, Translator
Inio Asano. Fantagraphics, $29.99 (136p) ISBN 978-1-60699-583-9
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Asano, best known for the acclaimed manga Solanin, delivers a dark and twisted psychological horror story that links together a series of characters and tragic events in one timeline that have devastating ramifications for a second timeline. Equal parts beautiful and highly disturbing, this story of love and loss, obsession and vengeance, is sometimes too opaque to be easily understood, but it has the kind of depth and layers that encourage multiple readings. Weaving together a series of characters tangentially related to one another on the surface but intimately connected when one probes deeper, the story is full of murderous revenge, hidden agendas, and majestic visuals that contrast well with the darkness of the story. The book follows the paths of a mysterious girl, a physically and emotionally scarred young teacher, an obsessed bully, a suicidal student, and others, as their past crimes come full circle to haunt them 10 years in the future, with the world enacting its own kind of poetic but brutal justice. The work is impressive and will leave readers puzzling about it, with many likely returning to dig deeper and discover further meanings. (Mar.)
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