The Man Without Talent

NYRC. Feb. 2020. 240p. ISBN 9781681374437. pap. $22.95. Rated: Teen+. f
Once an acclaimed cartoonist, Sukezo Sukesawa no longer finds any value in his own work and devotes himself to a series of largely misguided schemes in order to provide for his family. After some initial success selling restored antique cameras, he becomes interested in the aesthetics of stone appreciation, an art dating back to ancient Japan and still practiced by a small number of devotees, and begins hunting the river near his home for rare specimens he believes he’ll be able to sell for a healthy profit. His wife’s insistence that he’s a lazy fool only grows after he takes her and their son to a stone auction where his samples are deemed worthless.
VERDICT While the opening chapters deliver a portrait of an artist’s ennui, later scenes depicting Sukesawa’s interactions with the owner of a bird store and a bookseller in his village reveal that Tsgue’s (Nejishiki) actual interest lies in a withering dissection of male entitlement in a rapidly changing society.
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