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The work of a visionary and iconoclastic feminist cartoonist—available in English for the first time
The Sky is Blue with a Single Cloud collects the best short stories from Kuniko Tsurita’s remarkable career. While the works of her male peers in literary manga are widely reprinted, this formally ambitious and poetic female voice is like none other currently available to an English readership. A master of the comics form, expert pacing and compositions combined with bold characters are signature qualities of Tsurita's work.
Tsurita’s early stories “Nonsense” and “Anti” provide a unique, intimate perspective on the bohemian culture and political heat of late 1960s and early ‘70s Tokyo. Her work gradually became darker and more surreal under the influence of modern French literature and her own prematurely failing health. As in works like “The Sky is Blue with a Single Cloud” and “Max,” the gender of many of Tsurita's strong and sensual protagonists is ambiguous, marking an early exploration of gender fluidity. Late stories like "Arctic Cold" and "Flight" show the artist experimenting with more conventional narrative modes, though with dystopian themes that extend the philosophical interests of her early work.
An exciting and essential gekiga collection, The Sky is Blue with a Single Cloud is translated by the comics scholar Ryan Holmberg and includes an afterword cowritten by Holmberg and manga editor Mitsuhiro Asakawa delineating Tsurita's importance and historical relevance.
"A fantastic, continually surprising look at one of Japan’s most innovative—and least remembered—manga artists."
"Meticulously curated... The Sky Is Blue with a Single Cloud is a label-defying collection of Kuniko Tsurita's gekiga [that] explores the role of women through numerous shorts in unexpected formats."
"Tsurita gets her due in this retrospective... essential reading for fans of underground comics."
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"The Sky Is Blue with a Single Cloud is a superb and beautiful collection, one worth repeated readings for pleasure and reflection alike. The Anglophone world owes thanks to those involved in its production that English speaking audiences will finally get to encounter Tsurita's powerfully innovative and provocative work, which resonates with meaning for manga historians and contemporary audiences alike."
"A long overdue and revelatory collection of masterfully crafted and deeply affecting stories."
"Offering far more than a glimpse into Kuniko’s professional career, The Sky is Blue reflects on her satirical subversion of social and cultural ideals of femininity in an industry dominated by men."—ArtReview
"Gathered together in The Sky Is Blue with a Single Cloud, [the] stylistic differences across her oeuvre are now more discernible, affirming Tsurita’s role as pioneering comic artist (no gendered qualifier needed!). At last, her short career (she died at 35) can finally be recognized in mainstream comics."—Hyperallergic