I wanted to share brief notes on two books I’ve finished recently (numbers 37 and 38 for those of you still counting). Though there are many differences between the two both paint a somewhat bleak and dystopian vision of the world we live in – and both are well worth reading if you get the chance.
The first is a graphic novel by Charles Forsman (cover is the image for this blog post) entitled The End of the F’in World. It’s a story of a boy and a girl from dysfunctional families who run away and get into some serious trouble. Mostly the story comes from the young woman’s perspective as she discovers that her boy friend isn’t just hurting and lonely but deeply disturbed. The world they make together – wonderfully captured by the art in this book – is troubling, with some possibly redemptive openings for the girl at the end. The book is further proof that you can tell a lot of diverse stories in a graphic novel form.
The second book I finished is called Spook Country by William Gibson of Neuromancer fame (if you haven’t read that book then by all means plunge into the world that created a vision which bloomed into The Matrix). It’s a sort of spy story set in a post-9/11 America that is just slightly bleaker and more technology-obsessed than our world. The story focuses on three primary characters: Hollis Henry – a young woman searching for answers, Tito – a young man on a peculiar mission, and Milgrim – a drug-addicted man with some unique translating skills who is held captive by a man who might be from the military. All of these characters, and the many people they interact with across this tight interweaving tale, are complex and nuanced, and the while the story takes a little while to build momentum once it gets going I found it hard to put down. This tales too ends with some redemptive possibilities – at least for these three characters – and so the bleakness of the book’s atmosphere gives way to a glimpse of hope.
These two books echoed similar themes of bleakness and redemption making me glad to have read them. Both creators have other books as well and I expect to dig into some more of their work in the future.