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A Reader of Fictions: Little Red Bird - Dave Matthews Band

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Monday, March 19, 2012

Little Red Bird - Dave Matthews Band


Author: Ryan Inzana
Pages: 282
ARC Acquired from: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via NetGalley

Description from Goodreads:
Ichiro lives in New York City with his Japanese mother. His father, an American soldier, was killed in Iraq. Now, Ichi’s mom has decided they should move back to Japan to live with Ichi’s grandfather.

Grandfather becomes Ichi’s tour guide, taking him to temples as well as the Hiroshima Peace Park, where Ichi starts to question the nature of war. After a supernatural encounter with the gods and creatures of Japanese mythology, Ichi must face his fears if he is to get back home. In doing so, he learns about the nature of man, of gods, and of war. He also learns there are no easy answers—for gods or men.

Ichiro opens with an old Japanese legend about a tanuki, a raccoon that can shapeshift and often takes the form of a teapot. The tanuki forms the frame story for Ichiro, and it is also amusing and magical.

What Ichiro is really about is Ichiro, a young boy who idolizes his father. He wears his dads old sunglasses and constantly reads an old military book of his dad's that he found. Because he misses his dad, who he barely remembers, he romanticizes war and is bored by most everything else. He gets sucked into the realm of the gods, because of that tricky tanuki and gets a lesson in war and humanity.

The drawings are really cool, although I wish I had been able to read a finished version, since the digital galleys just don't quite have the quality of a printed graphic novel. The best part of the artwork was definitely the color. Inzana clearly has a flair for it; I love the contrasts between scenes in shades of grey, scenes with just one color popping brightly and scenes just bursting with color.

Rating: 3/5

"Guns and gods and little red birds
A comfort to count the battles won after the war is lost"

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Blogger Grazianohmygod said...

I just finished this one, and though I liked the aspects where Ichiro's grandfather explained Japanese history and culture to him, I thought the point where Ichiro plunged headfirst into that mythological world was extremely distancing. I felt that not enough cultural context was provided for that, and though I'm sure the strangeness of that was some of the point, it still annoyed me. 3/5 sounds apt though.

March 19, 2012 at 3:29 PM  

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