A Single Match
In this collection of hauntingly elliptical short stories, Oji Suzuki explores memory, relationships, and loss with a loose narrative style, filling each tale with a sense of unfulfilled longing. He plumbs the dissolute depths of human psychology, literally bathing his characters in expansive shadows that paradoxically reveal as much as they obscure. A young man catches a cold after being soaked in the rain and is tended to by his grandmother. He drifts, dreaming of a train trip with an older brother he doesn't have. A traveling salesman comes across a boy lying in the middle of the road and stops to have a cigarette and tell a story that sifts through memories of faces and places before settling back on the boy and pretending to not look at the stars. A young woman walks along the river with her bicycle and a friend who is nothing more than a disembodied head―discussing past times together, memories they have of each other.
Although he touches on many of the same themes as his contemporaries in the field of postwar alternative manga―Yoshihiro Tsuge (L'Homme Sans Talent) and Seiichi Hayashi (Red Coloured Elegy)―Suzuki uses an ever shifting narrative approach and dashes of surrealist humor to distinguish his work from that of his peers.