Wednesday, February 11, 2015

book review: Here by Richard McGuire

The basics: Spanning hundreds of thousands of years, Here is the non-linear story of one piece of land (and its inhabitants) over time.

My thoughts: Here begins with a smaller scope than my synopsis. It begins inauspiciously compared to its journey. I read all of this graphic novel in one sitting, and I read much of it with my jaw open in delighted surprise at what McGuire does in this novel. I expected this novel to be the story of the house and those who lived in it over time, as well as how its decor changed. It is that, but it also goes into the future (near and far) and into the past, long before there was a house. I live in a 102-year-old house, and I love to think about the lives of those who lived there before us, particularly as its the only home Hawthorne has ever known. But now I can't stop thinking about our plot of land long before it was a plot, or how long it will stay a plot.

Admittedly, the story is a fascinating one: snapshots of life, human, animal, and earth, in one place over time. This theme is a powerful one for me, and I would likely embrace it in other forms, but McGuire's art elevates this idea to an even more amazing place. There's both a simplicity and a depth to his art. I found myself lingering over details, but I could also take in the events on each page quickly. As time moves forward and back again and again, I was never disoriented. He captures the visual essence of different times beautifully.

While this novel over all is not linear, there are some linear storylines. Some years we revisit many times, see dialogue and events over the course of a day, as well as other days in a year. Other years are only glimpsed once. And while they are all lovely alone, the ways in which McGuire overlays them, jumps between them and changes their visual scope make this graphic novel so much more than a sum of its parts.

The verdict: Here manages to be a riveting page turner, a thoughtful exploration of time and place, a meditation on the roles and  lives of humans, and a beautiful piece of art. It's astonishingly good.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Length: 304 pages
Publication date: December 9, 2014
Source: library

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Here from Amazon (no Kindle edition.)

Want more? Visit Richard McGuire's website.

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I love the sound of this book! I am a big fan of books that span huge timeline and focus on how time impacts life or the world. This one sounds perfect!


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