Drnaso, Nick – Sabrina



Yes, you can tell from the cover scan that this is a library copy. What, you think running this website makes me independently wealthy? Also, hey, support your local libraries! I usually just get graphic novels and read them for myself (yes, it’s true, there are many comics that I read without saying a word about it on this website), but I had to say a few things about this amazing book, just in case you hadn’t heard about it yet. It was the first graphic novel to be nominated for the Man Booker Prize, which, granted, I had to look up, but the list of past winners is ridiculously impressive. It’s also not quite like anything else I’d ever read, with some hints of Chris Ware sprinkled in with Adrian Tomine, but I’m not going to claim that he is all influences. No, this is a uniquely original book, which is probably a big part of the reason why it’s up for awards. What’s it about? Things start off slowly with a conversation between two women, ending with a gross story of a near miss on a sexual assault. From there we turn our attention to a young man with long hair who’s being picked up at the airport by a friend he obviously hasn’t seen in years. We gradually learn that he’s there because his girlfriend has gone missing and his parents, having no idea what else to do to help, sent him to an old friend. We then follow this old friend to his job in the Air Force, where we learn a few more details about the missing woman. The action mostly focuses on three characters: the young man with the missing girlfriend, his friend and how it’s affecting him (and his own attempt to reconcile with an estranged wife and daughter) and, to a lesser extent, the sister of the missing woman. It’s absolutely unflinching in its portrayal of grief; there were several moments when I wished the “camera” would turn away so I could get a break from the misery. The boyfriend can barely function (he’s usually only wearing underwear and there are a few times when his friend has to feed and clothe him) and there’s a particularly heartbreaking scene where the sister manages to find a brief moment of peace through meditation, but the second she comes out of it the misery comes pouring back in. The resolution to the disappearance is grisly, and the rest of the book turns into an examination of how quickly conspiracy theories get spread (he spends some time on the Sandy Hook conspiracy, among others, and shows how quickly the media turns to the next, bloodier story). It’s the tail end of 2018 as I’m writing this and the message couldn’t be more timely. You’re going to be seeing this book turn up on a lot of “best of” year end lists, and you know what? They’re right. This is one of the best, most disturbing books I’ve read all year, and I couldn’t recommend it more highly. $27.95

Posted on December 11, 2018, in Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.

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