Barefoot Gen: Life After the Bomb : A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima Hardcover – 1 Mar 1989
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The artwork his excellent. Nakazawa's somewhat cartoony style makes the horrors seem that much more horrific. The burn victims, both living and dead, the maggots crawling through a living person's dead flesh, people vomiting blood, all have an amazing stomach turning impact.
And yet mixed in with all this is Gen's childish love, hope, and optimism. Despite the setting, he and Ryuta manage to find humor and sing songs.
This is a fictional story, but it is based on Kaiji Nakazawa's real life experiences which he went through as a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing. The names of some of the characters are the names of his family. The stories he tells are harsh and real and painful and good. Literature, in any medium, doesn't get any better than this.
The author shows that those unaffected by the bomb in Hiroshima cruelly shunned those suffering from its effects. They didn't know about radiation but they could see its painful and imminently lethal effects. The problems of disposing of the dead and problems the living have in finding food and shelter are shown. As in volumes 1 & 2 there is a lot on the food shortage. . The author shows are some ruses used to get food, and the strong seem to survive.
A good bit of the book deals with Gen's job. He earns 3 yen a day attending to a survivor. He takes maggots from his wounds and tries to raise his spirits.
The people are clearly traumatized and there is no government or charity to help them.
This is a good book, but it is not great, as are vols 2 & 2 of the series.
Gen finds a job caring from a radiation victim artist. As long as he stays alive, Gen can earn 3 yen a day.