A Thousand Coloured Castles
Brookes’ talent for surreal experimentation, shown in his first graphic novel The Black Project, dominates this depiction of life with macular degeneration coupled with the less-common Charles Bonnet syndrome, a condition that causes the protagonist, Myriam, to see all sorts of creatures and events that aren’t actually there. Her illness disrupts her mundane life with her husband, Fred, who spends the majority of his time complaining about modern life and the behavior of a neighbor. Myriam begins seeing dancing electrical towers and out-of-control plant growth, and as these illusions grow more absurd and alarming, she fears she’s losing her mind; Fred is merely irritated by the thought, ill-equipped to help her. Myriam’s alarm over some seemingly real skullduggery at the neighbor’s heightens the conflict between the real and the fantastic, as Fred’s own limited world begins to seem as false as his wife’s visions. Brookes portrays Myriam’s macular degeneration with beautiful mottled panels that obscure faces and reality altogether. (Aug.)
Correction: An earlier version of this review misspelled the author's last name.