Hit Parade of Tears: An Ode to the Unique Sensibility of Izumi Suzuki


Started reading another book by Izumi Suzuki which was recently published in English: “Hit Parade of Tears” and I am half way finished. It’s really good and I recommend it.

Izumi Suzuki, a Japanese counterculture icon of the nineteen-seventies and eighties, lived a life that was as tumultuous as her work was unique. As an underground actor, erotic model, and science-fiction writer, she left a mark on Japan’s cultural landscape that continues to inspire generations. Her untimely death at the age of thirty-six cut short a promising career, leaving behind a legacy that’s only now receiving the recognition it deserves.

Hit Parade of Tears, a collection of her short stories translated from the Japanese by Sam Bett, David Boyd, Helen O’Horan, and Daniel Joseph and published by Verso, showcases her unique sensibility. Her writing combined a punk aesthetic with a taste for the absurd, resulting in a style that’s hard to classify but easy to appreciate. Her work is populated by misfits, loners, and femmes fatales, alongside extraterrestrial boyfriends, intergalactic animal traffickers, and murderous teen-agers with E.S.P. – all of whom blur the boundary between earthly delinquency and otherworldly phenomena.

In Hit Parade of Tears, Suzuki’s stories range from the dystopian to the surreal, often touching on themes of alienation, loneliness, and the search for meaning in a world that doesn’t make sense. Her characters are often rebels without a cause, drifting through life in a haze of drugs, sex, and rock-and-roll, looking for something that they can’t quite name. As one character puts it, “Some wackjobs think they’re living in a science-fiction world.” In Suzuki’s stories, that’s often true – but the science fiction is always a metaphor for something deeper.

What sets Suzuki apart is her ability to blend the fantastical with the mundane, creating stories that are both entertaining and thought-provoking. Her writing is full of humor and irony, but it’s also full of heart. Her characters may be misfits, but they’re also human, with all the flaws and foibles that come with it. In Hit Parade of Tears, we see the full range of Suzuki’s talents on display, from the visceral horror of “The Flood,” to the bittersweet nostalgia of “For Love of the Monster.”

Overall, Hit Parade of Tears is an excellent introduction to the work of Izumi Suzuki, a writer who deserves to be better known outside of Japan. Her stories are weird, wonderful, and unforgettable, and they’ll leave you wanting more. If you’re a fan of science fiction, punk rock, or just great writing in general, this book is for you.

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