Sunday, 22 May 2016

A spot of reading: Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine

This Sunday my spot of reading is 'Killing and Dying' by Adrian Tomine. A stunningly crisp collection of six interconnected tales which delve into the cracks and crevices of everyday live. It includes those glances, the unspoken emotions and the awkwardness that couldn't be conveyed through language but come across so clearly through the beautifully drawn panels of Tomine.

 The title story, Killing and Dying, focuses on the complexities of parenthood  intertwined with the dark cloud of terminal illness. The conversations we follow in these panels are fraught with an underlying depression, a sadness of what is to come, which transgresses into the frustration of dealing with a teenager focusing on wanting to become a comedian at what could be seen as an inappropriate time.

Out of the six small stories, 'Translated from the Japanese', is a personal favourite as Tomine's full colour sharp illustrations carry the thoughts of a passenger on a flight home.

'Go Owls' follows a young woman who meets an older gentleman at an A.A. meeting, falling  vulnerably into a relationship that swings from supportiveness to abusiveness from one panel to the next.

'Amber Sweet' follows the tragic story of the life of girl who has been mistaken for a popular porn star, which alters the way people look at her, how her relationships pan out, destroying her happiness.

These along with the other two stories carry us through a range of relatable emotions, the ebb and flow of relationships, humour, sadness, creativity and the need to succeed but also the acceptance of failure. Every drawing matches the story it tells, some are filled with more vibrant colour, others are muted, some are more minimalist than others. It all works and flows in such a stunning fashion.

You can find more of Adrian Tomine's work at his website here. His author page on Drawn and Quarterly can also be found here. I'll certainly be seeking out more of his work in the future.

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