This is only the second graphic novel I have ever read. The first was Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, a memoir about Satrapi’s childhood and early adulthood in Iran both before and after the Islamic Revolution. Satrapi’s story was a coming of age story, but also a vivid, graphic (I know) portrayal of what it was like on a day-to-day basis for a normal family to adapt to the changes the revolution foisted on them. I can remember this book clearly; I even remember exactly when I read it (July 2008) and this is unusual for me because no matter how much I enjoy a book it usually gets hazy within six months. (Probably I read too much, too fast and too lazily.)
Alison Bechdel wrote a long-running comic strip called Dykes To Watch Out For and published a graphic memoir called Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic in 2006. Are You My Mother? is a sort of sequel to Fun Home. Continue reading
Harold Fry is an ordinary retired gent. A man of simple habits and mild interests. He sets off on foot one morning to post a letter he has written to an old friend, Queenie, who has cancer. Except, he doesn’t stop at the post box, he keeps on walking. An idea has entered his head: he’ll keep on walking for 500 miles, all the way up the country, until he reaches Queenie. He will walk to keep her alive.
He walks up the country in the yachting shoes he was wearing that first morning, getting them resoled when necessary. He has none of the right gear but is given bits and pieces by strangers; a compass, a rucksack. After the first few days he posts his credit card back to his wife Maureen; he will rely totally on what he finds or is given ‑ or do without. He grows a beard. He meets lots of people. A dog (‘Dog’) attaches itself to him. His journey briefly becomes front page news and he gets followers. Dog leaves him. He leaves the followers, sneaking away from their camp one early morning. Continue reading
Jimm Juree is a thirty-five year old crime reporter in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She’s wrenched from her comfortable life by her mother to go and live in what she sees as a poky hell-hole of a fishing village in the south. Her mother has had the bright idea that the two of them, along with her monosyllabic grandfather and her extremely shy body-building brother, will start a little hotel business in the hell-hole.
Jimm’s mood improves when some long-buried bodies are dug up in the area (sitting in a VW combie, one of them wearing a hat) and she suspects foul play. Not much later a monk is brutally murdered. A monk-nun love tryst seems to be at the heart of the crime. Jimm sharpens her investigative skills and starts to annoy the local cops. There is one competent officer, stuck in the village because he’s gay. Jimm befriends him immediately. Continue reading