Single Match, A A Single Match
In this collection of hauntingly elliptical short stories, Oji Suzuki explores memory, relationships and loss with a loose narrative style, filling each tale with a sense of unfulfilled longing. He plumbs the dissolute depths of human psychology, literally bathing his characters in expansive shadows that paradoxically reveal as much as they obscure. A young man catches a cold after being soaked in the rain and is tended to by his grandmother. He drifts, dreaming of a train trip with an older brother he doesn't have. A traveling salesman comes across a boy lying in the middle of the road and stops to have a cigarette and tell a story that drifts through memories of faces and places, before settling back on the traveling salesman and the boy pretending to not look at the stars. A young woman walks along the river with her bicycle and a friend who is nothing more than a disembodied head--discussing past times together, memories they have of each other.
Although he touches on many of the same themes as his contemporaries in the field of post-war alternative manga, Yoshihiro Tsuge (L'Homme Sans Talent) and Seiichi Hayashi (Red Coloured Elegy), Suzuki's ever-shifting narrative approach and dashes of surrealist humor distinguish his work from his peers.