Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Here by Richard McGuire (A Graphic Novel Quick Recap)

Here by Richard McGuire

Here is a strikingly unique graphic novel, which is difficult to sum up without experiencing firsthand. The basic setup is that McGuire depicts a single corner of a room - or the space that room otherwise inhabits - capturing snapshot moments that take place in it, but across different times, from prehistoric periods to eras far into the future. Each two page spread represents at least one such time, although there may also be cutouts within pages that depict different embedded times. Some sequences or juxtapositions within the book make logical sense. For instance, there is a spread that shows a series of people holding babies in various time periods. In this, we see continuity over time, and how life is cyclical. At other points, the connections are not so apparent, such as when McGuire leaps to prehistoric times when the area was swampland or a future that reveals the area flooded and existing underwater. These scenes suggest the random nature of life and our lack of control. While I attempted to keep track of the different times - and McGuire aids with this by using distinct color palettes for various periods - I ultimately surrendered myself to the reading experience, not trying to understand it all, but simply immersing myself. Rather than walking away with a neat storyline, I emerged as if I had experienced a bizarre trip of emotions that ranged from appreciating tiny and palpable everyday moments to sensing the enormity of the universe and the incomprehensible expansiveness of infinite time. And, as I look around my own home, I can’t help but also imagine an overlay of what has occurred here during times past and present.

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