Not long after Drawn & Quarterly had announced their first two books for 2022 have they announced a third. Coming in February 2022 will be a Nazuna Saito collection entitled Offshore Lightning. This appears to be her first English-language book by a major publisher.
A mature talent, Nazuna Saito produced her first manga in her 40s before life circumstances meant she had to take time away. She returned to the form in her 60s and has produced short and longer form works prior to a stroke. Saito’s work appears to draw on themes of aging and death with incisiveness, poignancy and humour.
While Offshore Lightning will be Saito’s first book available in English, she had one of her stories recently translated and published in the second issue of Bharat Murthy’s Vérité magazine in India in 2019.
The solicit for Offshore Lightning pretty much speaks for itself:
ANXIETY AND LONGING SUFFUSE INCISIVE PORTRAITS OF POST-WAR JAPAN.
Nazuna Saito began making comics late. She was in her 40s when she submitted a story to a major Japanese publishing house and won an award for newcomers. She continued to work through the 1990s until she stopped drawing to take care of her ailing parents. In her 60s, she took a job teaching drawing at Kyoto Seika University and became inspired by her talented students. When she returned to teaching, her storytelling interests had shifted. Before suffering a stroke she drew “In Captivity” (2012) and “Solitary Death Building” (2015)—both focused on aging and death. Offshore Lightning collects Saito’s early work as well as these two recent graphic novellas.
Stories like “Buy Dog Food and Go Home” and “Offshore Lightning” focus on middle-aged men caught in a cycle of self pity and self reflection. Saito gently pokes fun at their anguish and self-involvement while capturing the pathos of these men as they revisit childhood friendships and lost loves. By contrast, “In Captivity” follows three siblings visiting their ailing mother who is succumbing to dementia and resentful at her loss of agency. The siblings take a drive as they reckon with balancing the painful legacy of her caustic personality with attempting to honor this woman at the end of her life. “Solitary Death Building” documents an eccentric cast of elderly gossips as death descends upon the housing complex where they all live.
The collection comes in at a nice meaty 384 pages and will retail for $21.95.
Check out a preview of the book below.