Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sleepwalk and Other Stories

by Adrian Tomine

Having decided to get caught up on Adrian Tomine's library, I was fortunate to find two of his collections in used bookstores this summer.  Sleepwalk collects the tales in the earliest issues of Optic Nerve, his very occasional anthology series which recently had a new issue published.

There are a lot of stories in this lovely hardcover collection, although they tend to return again and again to Tomine's usual themes - recent breakups, broken families, and lonely young people.  I suppose it's easy to find Tomine's work a downer, since so many of his characters are so sad and downtrodden, but there is also plenty of beauty to this book, and not just in his wonderful art.

Characters are faced with a lot of adversity here - they miss their ex, they have trouble communicating with their family, they hate their jobs but don't see any other prospects - but there is also an underlying belief in the resilience of people that makes each story an enjoyable read.  Tomine frequently ends his stories in odd places, and many of the just feel like they stop, instead of end.  It's a cool technique for this type of story, and where it would be pretty annoying somewhere else, here it works.

I love Tomine's art.  His pencils are nice and clean, for the most part, and I like his use of ziptones for shading.  This is a good book, and I can't wait to get to Summer Blonde, which is also on my shelf waiting to be read.

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