The Tale of Brin and Bent and Minno Marylebone

Ravi Thornton, Author, Andy Hixon, Illustrator
Ravi Thornton and Andy Hixon. Counterpoint/Soft Skull (PGW dist.), $22.95 (96p) ISBN 978-1-59376-529-3
Reviewed on: 01/06/2014
Release date: 12/01/2013
Hardcover - 96 pages - 978-0-224-09374-3
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At its heart a fairytale—innocence captured by evil—this graphic novel is both a lovely and an exceptionally disturbing story. The House for the Grossly Infirm has two brutal, cruel, and perverse pool-keepers, Brin and Bret, and one young and innocent visitor, Minno Marylebone, who surreptitiously swims in the pool each evening. Ranging far beyond “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” this encounter is more dark and sinister than Grimm’s bloodiest of fairy stories. Brin and Bret are no brilliant Machiavellian villains, though; they take delight in torturing the residents of the House with mundane evil—excess chlorine in the pool that burns and sears. Thornton’s ominous and horrifying fable of human evil and obsession is told through her lyrical and spellbinding prose; the haunting text is accompanied by Hixon’s hallucinogenic collages of the macrocephalic, neotenous villains and victims in their hypnotically dreamlike surroundings. Reminiscent of the work of Dave McKean, Hixon’s artwork is unsettling and beautiful at the same time, a compelling gothic horror that elicits intense unease while it compels the reader to continue. Nominated for the Bram Stoker Award, this wrenching and cathartic tale spears directly into the heart with barbed hooks. (Dec.)
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