This post was initially published to Goodreads on February 12, 2023.An Invitation from a Crab by panpanya
Panpanya creates imaginative, often surreal stories from the little life details most others would ignore. For example, one story describes the “mysterious” toys the protagonist’s grandmother gives her – old timey gadgets foreign to the modern age created with functional intentions, not as toys. The story ends in a way that punctuates what the modern age or current age has lost when it stopped teaching “old ways.”
Other stories include the protagonist’s search for the origins of pineapples in Japan, one where she wakes up as a “wandering spirit,” and another where the misreading of a calendar upends her preparations. Observations that a dreamer may make and conclusions that a child might draw.
“An Invitation from a Crab” starts with her protagonist (I can’t remember if she is ever named) following a crab that has “escaped” from a seafood market. The “speaking” characters the protagonist interacts with are “hollow” line drawings on top of more detailed backgrounds, so there is this sense of “otherness.”
Sprinkled among her illustrated stories are straightforward ponderings on perception, ending with what feels like a raison d’etre for the author’s work.
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