Our Dreams at Dusk by Yuhki Kamatani
“You give yourself a little breathing room. But that breathing room is only the thinnest barrier between you and the dangerous maelstrom of reality.”
At the start of Our Dreams at Dusk, Tasuku is reeling from believing he has been outed as gay in his high school. As he stares over the edge of a guardrail, contemplating suicide, a mysterious incident distracts him and leads him to a meeting house of sorts. It’s there he finds a new group of people whose lives and stories bring him a new perspective on himself and the world.
The 4-book series goes on to explore various queer identities, the successes and struggles of Tasuku and those he meets, and the incredible power of finding a community.
The series also touts some abstract and thematic imagery highlighting emotions and moments. Although I was at first wondering if there was a supernatural or magical realism element to the story (and I imagine you might wonder the same after reading just the first chapter), I came to see it more as an artistic choice than a literal one.
One of my favorite pieces of this story is the age range of the characters who gather at the meeting house. It highlights how self-discovery and -acceptance can come at any age, and showed deep empathy for everyone on their own journeys without a roadmap or a right time to finish.
Our Dreams at Dusk is a coming-of-age story that is ageless. It is a beautifully drawn series about people coming together to support one another which manages to be hopeful without shying away from difficult conversations and the pain we all sometimes inflict or endure.
“Even if we get hurt, we have the power to stand up. When we hurt someone, we have the heart to reflect on that.”