Review of I Wonder What Human Flesh Tastes Like by Justin Isis, Quentin S. Crisp

The struggle of young people to understand their place in the world, within society’s context, or outside of its proscribed categories, considered from a multitude of perspectives, at differing stages of fatalistic contempt, solipsism, wanderlust, and obsession.

The Japanese setting, conjured with sublime authenticity, was absolutely convincing. Equal parts startling nostalgia and enigmatic yearning. With the tenacity of Mishima and the crystalline clarity of Tanizaki, Isis attains timelessness. In a style bereft of posture, the author zeroes in on a generation of media-savvy, dislocated characters who possess a shattered sense of empathy or are psychologically tethered to abstract or actual idols, who are at times depraved due to the sheer weight of loneliness. It depicts delicate sensibilities in a mature way, reaching a salience of aesthetic purity which perfectly demands the reader’s active consideration while memorably encapsulating beautiful lived-in moments.

A sublime and poignant collection of long stories. Atmospheric, mesmeric, down to earth, and unhurried as the films of Kiyoshi Kurosawa or a darkly tinted Ozu. The desolation of empty public spaces, littered with wind-swept memories. Leave your innocence at the door. The book embodies the act of stepping off the precipice of youth into the abyss of adulthood, forcefully straining you through a contorted filter of sex, philosophical hunger, and the inseparable gulf between disparate human understandings.

I would’ve continued reading this book for another 1000 pages.

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