The setting: A boys' boarding school in Germany, sometime in the mid-20th Century. One winter day, fourteen year-old Thomas Werner falls from a lonely pedestrian overpass to his death, immediately after sending a single, brief letter to another boy at the school:
To Juli, one last time.
This is my love.
This is the sound of my heart.
Surely you must understand.
Thus begins Moto Hagio's The Heart of Thomas — one of the most compelling and enigmatic manga graphic novels ever created, and a pioneer in the popular boys'-romance "shounen-ai" genre. Thomas's death (was it an accident? Suicide? Or even murder?) immediately throws the school into turmoil, while his letter sets off a chain of emotional upheaval both for the recipient and an ever-expanding circle of friends, family, and teachers, as secrets are revealed and shared. And then a new boy who looks exactly like Thomas shows up at school…
Unabashedly romantic and emotionally complex, The Heart of Thomas features an unusual, richly imagined setting and a cast of memorable characters. This timeless masterpiece is now finally available to American readers.
"Once the folks at Fantagraphics decided to dip their toes in the manga pool, they didn’t mess around,
choosing to launch their new manga line with this collection of short stories from one of the most
influential creators of manga for women. Not a retrospective of a waning master, the book instead
showcases a career four decades in the making that remains vibrant and relevant today. Hagio’s stories are
infused with dark emotions — longing, jealousy, remorse — that are instantly identifiable and, hence, often
uncomfortable to confront."
– Eva Volin, Booklist (Starred Review)
"Moto Hagio is a genius and leader in the style of shojo manga (comics for women readers). [...] The stories aren't about make-up and kitties, though. They're actually deep, complicated, and often deal with family relationships. At times, the works can be a bit abstract, as well, using allegories and plenty of symbolism. In the end, Moto's work has no need to be categorized as any different from any other realistic manga. Bound in hardcover format with gold foil, this amazing collection deserves a place in any serious manga reader's collection." – Eric Nakamura, Giant Robot
"The stories here are plucked from [Hagio's] sea of accomplishments, span four decades, and feature such common themes as friendship, siblings, death, the woods, the future, and love. Most come across as either quite poignant, deliciously odd, or frickin' creepy." – Whitney Dwire, Bust
"Hagio Moto remains one of the most
criminally undertranslated mangaka
to have barely made an impression on the English-language manga
market. It is criminal because of the profundity of her impact on the
art form in Japan as it hit a crucial
development phase in the 1970s.
A Drunken Dream and Other Stories is... a down payment on
the exploration of that legacy as it
collects a number of short pieces
that hint at the span and depth
of her work..." – Rob Vollmarr, World Literature Today