The setting: A boys’ boarding school in Germany, sometime in the latter 20th Century. Fourteen year-old Thomas Werner falls from a lonely pedestrian overpass to his death immediately after sending a single, brief letter to a schoolmate:
To Juli, one last time
This is my love
This is the sound of my heart
Surely you must understand
Thus begins the legendary and enigmatic Heart of Thomas, by Moto Hagio. Inspired by Jean Delannoy’s 1964 film, Les Amities Particulieres, The Heart of Thomas was nearly cancelled early in its serialization, in 1974, until Hagio’s first trade paperback, The Poe Clan, Volume 1, sold out in a single day, giving her new series a new lease on life. The result was a story more complex, less accessible, and yet so compelling it can be found near or at the top of any list of classic shojo manga. Translated by manga scholar Matt Thorn and packaged with the same loving attention to detail as Hagio’s Eisner Award nominated A Drunken Dream, The Heart of Thomas is already the most eagerly anticipated manga translation of the new decade.
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