Well, the library did cough up the first of the Jack Irish books by Peter Temple,Bad Debts. This series is set in Melbourne and features an angst ridden lawyer trying to keep his head above water-and alcohol-and trying to stay ahead of way too many low life aquaintances. The book begins as a combination of P G Woodhouse and Dashiell Hammett but the noir wins out-although the humor lurks ALWAYS. Three words-READ THESE BOOKS.
Now on to present business-manga. I have tried quite a bit in my day and always found it distracting and charming. However, during a recent trip to the library Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi leapt off the shelf at me. When 834 page books leap I pay attention. I had to restrain myself from gobbling it up too fast since, like all manga, it is full of detail. This is an autobiography of a renowned manga artist and begins with his childhood in postwar Japan and his obsession with manga and goes through his career with different publishers and different circles of fellow artists. I felt compelled to get books on the history of manga and, of course, other volumes by other artists.
I wish I easily explain how the alchemy of art, plot and character works on you while you read manga but all I can say is that you are transported. Even the light romances pull you out of yourself. Drifting Life is by far the most serious I have attempted and is the most rewarding. This portrayal of artistic struggle and modern Japan has not been duplicated.A Drifting Life