Sunday, April 11, 2021

A child-eye view, both haunted and cotidian

Although first published in Poland in 2017, Olga Tokriukuk Debt Source (Seven Stories, $ 22.95), An experimental fictional story illustrated by Joanna Concezzo and translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones resonates with our present moment. In its carefully executed pages, a man who “slept, ate, worked, drove a car and even played tennis” wakes up in a hotel room forgetting his purpose, place and name. He guesses Andrew or Matthew before checking his passport: it’s John. He is “a wise old doctor,” who repeats a phrase that appears in the book’s otherwise wordless preface, next to the drawing without a stamp: “If anyone could see us from top to bottom, they would give it to them.” will see.” The world is full of people who are very hurried, sweaty and very tired, and their lost souls. “

His soul, it turns out, is literally lost. Doctors state that spirits move slower than the body – usually two or three years behind from their owners. The cure she suggests is to just stay in one place to find her soul.

This is the setup – more attractive than you might expect from a writer from one of the important Fables who went on to win the 2018 Nobel Prize. But this book is far less than the books it is about, telling readers that the kind of unspeakable engagement sits with the pages of the slowness they advocate – reading it twice, three or more times May warrant. (Art Spiegelman once remarked that when he set out to create “Maus”, his goal was to create a comics that required bookmarks.)

The man waits, in “a small hut on the edge of town” – unnamed, but with a distinctly European spirit, set in an early portrait of forests and a cafe – and his soul, that of a little girl in a plaid coat. Looks like, finally catches him.

Along the way we are treated to the dramatic juxtaposition of Concezzo’s lush, detailed representations and quietly full-page images: to the left, an empty bench; To the right, a human-shaped shadow behind an ornamental door. (Concezzo’s portrayal, as critics have commented about Tokarguk’s novels, is often a Sableian cast, depicting obscure scenes that are both haunting and quidian.)

Provided with proficient accuracy in pencil, “The Lost Soul” asks readers to make connections that are not always clear – between two pictures or between a word and an image. The pages are sometimes counted, but the numbers between the book covers do not match in any linear fashion the 48 pages; The last number we get is 147. (Incidentally, the production is so spectacular that I tried to separate the two pages several times before my thumb was the only one.)

However, pagination is always consistent on pages that face each other. For a book about a two-part harmonious reunion, the double spread is the basic unit of visual storytelling for “The Lost Soul”, and is particularly effective in the showstopping scene in which man and soul find each other in a calm sense. Long-term acknowledgment from

Throughout his career, Tokarkuk’s writing has been considered as very pleasantly inaccessible. In the “Books” section of the “Wikipedia page” listed with his ninth novel, as well as his non-fiction, short story collection and poem, “The Lost Soul”, the ending stands alone – called “Other” . “It is not quite a traditional graphic novel, although its force comes from the rhythm of presence and absence, and the gap between visual and verbal, so important to that form. Seven Stories makes it a point for Tokriuk’s” readers of all ages Marketing only as illustrated book “.

I will gladly go with the other; It is important that what is a striking and lovable, material object. One of John’s problems is that he feels “as if he was going to a smooth page in a math exercise book, completely covered in evenly positioned squares.” Much of the book, then, appears on top of graph paper, including Concezzo’s illustrations. Translucent paper is sometimes added to the mixture, offering layers of trees and leaves. Bits of a fragmented personal collection also accumulate on the pages – envelopes, photographs, blank photo corners, yellow notes – giving the surface a tactile feel. The bright colors, initially visible in small, almost missable splashes, overtake the final scenes and back endpers.

If “The Lost Soul” is a little precious, it wins to celebrate what we are forced to do in the age of Kovid: place and shelter. Another fictional tale sung with our troubled times is Kathy Malkasian No one likes you, GRETA GRUMP (fantasy, $ 16.99), Pay attention to meaning and other things like “The Lost Soul” is a fascinating bibliophilic book (my favorite scene is at the workplace of a gopher librarian named Marjari, who handles the oldest book and makes her audience wear white gloves twice. “Historical Atlas of Ill Winds and Sure Moods”).

A cartoonist and animator, Malkasian sets his middle-grade graphic novel in an unspecified city, which looks Parisian and features a modest Jean-Pierre Jeanette vibe. This is a cruel child, befriended by a dapper turtle, as the two head out to investigate why the neighbor’s city has suddenly changed, a swift turn of events in which no one can make the cognitive atonement produced by our current political Can’t help reflecting. Scenario.

“Greta Gump” manages to feel fresh, addressing a range of issues – some directly, some diagonally – such as adoption, immigration, and even how food reflects the difference. The cast of characters is diverse throughout; Greta presents white, and was adopted by brown-skinned parents. Stylishly and loosely crafted, the book becomes philosophical when it recognizes that dealing with kind people does not always make them good for you. Known for his stable of edgy adult comics, Falgunix has successfully expanded its range with Malkasian’s love story.

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