A Distant Neighborhood, Vol. 1

A Distant Neighborhood, Vol. 1 Jiro Taniguchi. Fanfare/Ponent Mon, $23 paper (200p) ISBN 978-84-92444-28-1
Taniguchi employs a familiar plot device to begin an amiable story. One morning, 48-year-old business traveler Hiroshi Nakahara boards the wrong train—a recently built express to his old hometown. Upon arriving, he visits his mother’s grave, where he is mysteriously transported back in time. Hiroshi finds himself 14 years old, with full adult foreknowledge of all that is to come. The book proceeds to hit plot points typically associated with this genre at an easygoing clip, as the lead character visits long-gone people and places. As this volume progresses, Hiroshi slowly embraces his ability to relive his youth differently and prepares to address the great mystery of his childhood: the disappearance of his father. Just as Hiroshi is struck by the minutiae of a family dinner, Taniguchi exercises his own characteristic attention to ruminative detail. His artwork crisply delineates the details of place and time central to the story, while his writing dwells on the mental adjustments and minor pleasures of Hiroshi’s fantastic situation. Taniguchi’s execution charms, creating more anticipation for the forthcoming sequel than do the particular mechanics of this book’s otherwise familiar narrative arc. (June)


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