Book: The Art of Sushi by Franckie Alarcon
Source: I received a copy from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: NBM Publishing
Release Date: December 14th, 2021
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I requested this book from NetGalley in an act of arrogance. I was curious how much there really is about the preparation of sushi that I didn’t already know about. After all, it doesn’t look that difficult! But I was quite wrong, and I’ve never been happier. Learning so much about sushi has never been more delightful!
There are three main things that I believe made this graphic novel so effective. The first was how much detail was included, the second was how thorough the research presented was, and the last was the effective use of presenting the information through a graphic medium. These three components made this graphic novel be the absolute best work it could be!
As I mentioned, the amount of detail in this book is absolutely astounding. From the lists of the different sushi forms, to the step by step guide of how different components that are integral to sushi are prepared, to the lists of items that were deliciously described at each restaurant or eatery, the overall effect was the same. I felt myself learning a lot and feeling like I was there experiencing everything that the author and his crew did. There’s an art to conveying so much information without overwhelming the reader, and this book perfected that balance. While I did try to savor each page and piece of information, at no point did I find myself overloaded with too many facts or images. The detail in this book was truly masterful.
Then we have the thoroughness of the research. While you might assume from the title that the only deep dives this book contains are the elements of sushi and the history of sushi in Japan, that couldn’t be farther from the truth! Yes, those two elements are the main focus of the book, but along the way we learn about different fishing practices, about sake and wasabi and nori, about the blades that are used to cut the fish, and the ceramics used to plate the sushi and hold the sake. The different sushi restaurants, from high end to everyday cafes, from traditional to modern, and from Japan to France, each added something to this book in order to help the reader gain the most complete understanding of all the little things that go into sushi making, and how they might differ from place to place and even store to store. At no point did I have a question about a process that wasn’t talked about at some length in the book.
Lastly, we have the medium itself, the beautiful artwork! One of the things that I adored about this book was the use of color. Most of the story was in shades of black and white, but every so often there would be a pop of color, in a piece of sushi, on the sign of a building, on a fish in the market. These pops of color were so purposeful, and really helped the reader take notice of the important details! The stark contrast really worked to highlight the main element of each page! Since sushi has a very visual component in its preparation, I was excited for a graphic novel about sushi, but the actual artwork and coloring, truly made this book a wonder!
In all, I gave this book 4 stars! I had a fantastic time reading it, and would definitely recommend it to any sushi lover out there!