68 Following

Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

Review: Barefoot Gen: Life After the Bomb

Barefoot Gen, Volume Three: Life After the Bomb - Keiji Nakazawa, Project Gen


The third book in the Barefoot Gen series, Life After the Bomb continues the horrific tale of post-nuclear Hiroshima and how one boy lived through it all. Trials abound in this third volume, the most memorable of which involves a new character, Seiji, whom Gen is given charge of. Life After the Bomb brings back some of the comic mischief that dominated the first volume and detracts, whether positively or negatively, from the grim story.

Life After... is a welcome addition to the Barefoot Gen storyline, although I did struggle placing this in context with the story's overall timeline. It seems so much time has passed, the family has mourned and roamed the countryside, many nights seemed to have elapsed, and yet, given Japan's announcement of surrender in this volume, only nine days have passed. This doesn't seem remotely possible and leaves me disconnected from the story some.

Also, it just dawned on me how ridiculously happy these covers are. It appears this is a happy tale, doesn't it, the way Gen is full of smile. That smile reflects nothing of the horrific images inside of these books.