Author: Dave Mckean
Release Date: First published 1991
Genres: Philosophy, Adult, graphic novels, magical realism
Pacing: Slow to medium
McKean, famous for Arkham Asylum and his covers for Sandman, presents a highly allegorical tale of the dwellers of an apartment building. Their lives and stories intertwine and relate inevitably to each other in ways that point to the mystery of life.
This book didn’t feel like I’d been reading at all. Instead it felt like I’d taken a relaxing walk in an art gallery with peaceful music playing in the background. There were also interesting themes explored here like God, love and the universe which I couldn’t get enough of being the philosophy fan I am.
This novel was strange don’t get me wrong but I think of it as strange like a lucid dream where things make sense and then they suddenly don’t and the scenes change in a flash. I will admit that in the past I would normally turn my nose up at graphic novels as I can’t stand all these stupid superheroes that seem oh so popular in graphic books. This one to my utter delight, had not one superhero in sight (hehe rhymes). It was instead a magical tour de force featuring some amazing, beautiful yet at the same time WTF….
….pieces of art. The reader will not always know what’s going on and that I think just adds to the intrigue and dream like quality of the novel.
Other than the artwork one of my favourite parts was the beginning where a selection of philosophical stories were written speculating how God created the universe. Of course each of these came with their own selection of masterfully done art work and my favourite story is the one where they say death is not an end but a beginning..
The only thing I didn’t like about this was the fact that this is a standalone and there is still a lot left hanging. I don’t really know how to explain only that it didn’t feel like all things were resolved like the men who attacked the artist and the true purpose of the black cat. But perhaps this novel is supposed to read like real life where not everything can be known or resolved, either way I really enjoyed this and hop to find more books of this nature.
Who I’d recommend this for
I’d recommend this for anyone who likes to speculate about life, God and creation because the author has really portrayed his speculations well through his artwork. I’d also recommend this for any graphic novel fan who is looking for something different from the typical super hero graphic novels.