Saturday, January 30, 2021

Book Review: Venus in the Blind Spot

Venus in the Blind Spot 
by Junji Ito
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A terrifying collection of Japanese stories. These graphic novel short stories are all classics in Japan; and I can definitely see why.
I had two struggles with this book of stories:
1) Forgetting to read right to left. It's a bit odd as the pages flip right to left (like English books); but the pages themselves are read right to left (not left to right as most are used to). So I had to keep reminding myself. I think I'd have preferred the book was bound 'backwards' where you read back to front as then I wouldn't have been so likely to forget which place to start on each page.
2) Some of these stories are burned into my brain. Like weeks after having read some of the early ones I'm still seeing them and remembering them. Given how much I read; and that I'm generally not awesome at details, it disturbs me how ingrained a few of these are on my brain. The only things that truly ever stick in my brain like that normally are terrifying or horrific. Although I suppose it supports my thought that this is an intense horror collection!
Please enjoy some quick notes/words about each story:

Story #1 - Billions Alone
Well that was truly scary. Like disturbing scary. Love it! (please don’t judge me, lol). This is so creepy to read while on lockdown from a pandemic (March 2020). It could be the story of the virus; if instead of getting sick you got sewn together dead... *shudder*

Story #2 - The Human Chair
I can barely concentrate on this story because I’m still thinking about the first...
Yep if I was home alone I’d be freaked right out. The chair I sit in at home is a laz-y boy and so it’s large and cushy like the one in this story. Even with my husband home I have shivers down my back reading this one. So well done.

Story #3 - An Unearthly Love
More disturbing than creepy I think... although the more I consider the story the creepier it becomes.
These first 3 stories are all amazing so far. Now it may also be that my husband playing a creepy video game with creepy music is enhancing the experience... I’m not very smart some days (lol!)

Story #4 - Venus in the Blind Spot
Not nearly as scary as the other stories so far. Interesting perhaps but feels out of place with the other 3 so far. Although it does have a great title.

Story #5 - The Licking Woman
There is something deeply unsettling about this one. It’s got an ick factor for sure; but also just feels too close to how humans do transmit disease. Especially in our current covid world.

Story #6 - Master Umezz and Me
I’m definitely missing something here. Perhaps because I don’t know manga tropes?

Story #7 - How Love Came to Professor Kirida
I feel like this was missing a critical piece but of something. Yet I can’t quite figure out what that might be...

Story #8 - The Enigma of Amigara Fault
No word of a lie I am shaking after reading this one. If you are claustrophobic in any way at all this story is an absolute nightmare.
My main two fears are generally spiders and water (yes all water, but especially dark lakes and the ocean). I think climbing into a mountain-side rock hole might have just shot near the top. *nervous laugh*

Story #9 - The Sad Tale of the Principal Post
You know an artist and writer are good when in four pages, just four pages of panels they can make you shiver. There's a whole other story to be discovered in these four panels; and we will never know what it was...

Story #10 - Keepsake
Maybe it's because I cannot have a child of my own; but I did not find this story nearly as disturbing as some of the others. It's creepy and icky to a certain degree; but not quite as shiver inducing as many of the other stories are.

A fantastic collection of translated 'illustrated' short stories. What do you call a graphic novel when it's not novel size? I honestly don't know.
If you like horror, are interested at all in a taste of Japanese culture, or love good ol' black and white artistry then this collection is for you.

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

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1 comment:

Leonore Winterer said...

Eek! I think this is not for me at all, I'm way too sensitive when it comes to horror. Although your descriptions do sound intriguing!