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Tsukumo Juku

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 3 months ago

Tsukumo Juku



"When I passed through the birth canal and out into the world I was so impressed that I sang out 'Ho na!' and the nurse holding me and the doctor both fainted, leaving me dangling over the edge of the bed from my umbilical cord."

As yet unnamed, the newborn child is so beautiful the very sight of his face can make any human faint. His early life is a frantic cloud of sexual abuse and eyeball popping antics until a murder leads to him solving his first crime...once he puts some sunglasses on and the police recover from their fainting spell.


But the second chapter opens with Tsukumo Juku receiving chapter one in the mail, signed by Seiryoin Ryusui, and being puzzled by all the lies it contains. Seiryoin Ryusui wrote the genre-busting meta-mystery novels Tsukumo Juku originally appeared in, and this massive ode to all things meta is Maijo Otaro's entry in the JDC tribute line Kodansha did for the 10th anniversary of the original books. At over 600 pages, it is by far Maijo's longest book, and with each chapter contradicting the previous one, several chapters appearing out of order leading to multiple versions of the central character wandering around arguing about which of them is real and if one of them is god, or Seiryoin Ryusui, or some other unknown writer...

In other words, completely insane from beginning to end.


The trick with a book like this is to keep it entertaining -- keep a narrative drive going to balance the incessant weirdness. Seiryoin himself failed to manage this at all, and I couldn't read his books, but Maijo keeps it going for the first five of seven chapters before he begins to fall apart. The final chapter is a good deal better than the penultimate one, and I do have to grant a great deal of respect for anyone who can convincingly present a Seven Eleven as a symbol for the throne mentioned in Revelations.


Maijo appears to be one of those mad genius writers who works best in short form; his longer works shows signs of him getting bored and just filling in the blanks till his next story beat, or getting very interested in something the readers really aren't. But when the story lives up to his gonzo writing style, he's one of the best in the world, and I've yet to regret foraging through anything he's written.

Andrew Cunningham

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