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Uzumaki by Junji Ito

This entry is part 54 of 56 in the series 2022 Reads

As with other posts in this series, these #booksread2022 posts get published with some lag. I’m trying to be more punctual, though, and this one’s very recent.

I’ve continued making my way through a stack of Junji Ito books from a local library. I’ve even less of a manga reader than a comics reader, but I’m enjoying these.

In Uzumaki, the influence of Lovecraft was more apparent to me than in Gyo, both in in terms of the way it relates to occulted (as in secret, unknown) history, and how it deals with a fixation upon an enigmatic and bizarre image. The story—or stories—in this series concern a town haunted by a spiral shape. At first, the series reads like a sort of short-story anthology of tales linked by a theme—the spiral—but as time goes on, elements begin to, er, spiral together, resurfacing and combining in new and horrifying ways. It’s a remorseless piece of cosmic horror, and it actually managed to surprise me a few times, which I didn’t expect.

The book is unsurprisingly heavy on the body horror, and I think on some level it explores the anxiety of being embodied in a world subject to forces and rules that are beyond human control, with the effects of the spiral literally spiraling out into people’s illnesses, mental states, physical appearance, how their bodies break down, and so on. Even a “bad hair day” can be deadly within the inexplicable tidal forces of the spiral at the heart of this story. 

Anyway, good, creepy fun. I think I’ll be reading Tomie next. 

Series Navigation<< <em>Smashed</em> and <em>Tomie</em> by Junji Ito<em>The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories</em> by Ken Liu >>
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