By Richard McGuire
Graphic Novel, fiction
Did you see The Time Machine? In the time travel scenes you step out of time and see a narrow slice of world change as you move forward in time rooted in place. You see plants grow, seasons change, mannequins change fashions and buildings rise and fall.
Here by Richard McGuire is kind of like that. The entire book takes place in one spot, the corner of a living room in a turn of the (previous)century New England house. Except, instead of time being a linear progression from the past on to the future McGuire plays around with it.
The whole book is a heady concept. You see several generations of a family celebrate births, grow up, grow old and die in the same household. McGuire jumps from the past to the future, back to a different era of the past between pages. Then he intersperses different eras over top of other eras in floating panels. You see someone ask if anyone has seen their keys, only to have the question answered by an archaeologist in the future. You see people celebrating Halloween in 1970 juxtaposed with panel of people in the 60’s, 30’s, and 90’s doing the same. You see the house built in 1907, and then flooded and destroyed in 2100’s. A couple flirting on one page is seen as an old couple on the next page.
Overall the themes of the book are family and memory, and how change is constant while not changing. This is at times a really fast read, but also a book that lends itself to be read again and again to pick up on all of the threads and different stories that are happening. The art is subdued pencils on bright colors, the different eras indicated by different decor of the living room corner.
I really liked the book, it is a great concept and I think that Richard McGuire does a fantastic job creating a thematic “story” across time. If you like experimental fiction or graphic novels this could be for you.