Alone

Christophe Chabouté, trans. from the French by Ivanka Hahnenberger. Gallery 13, $25 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-5011-5332-7
In a remote lighthouse lives a shy, deformed man, the son of the long-departed lighthouse keeper, who has never been off the tiny island. Fishermen bring him supplies. For entertainment, he looks up words in a tattered dictionary and tries to imagine the baffling outside world they describe. (Reading that an oboe is an “instrument with holes and keys,” he pictures something like a violin studded with door keys.) Then a curious fisherman sends him a note, and a crack of light shines into his boxed-in existence. This small, graceful story becomes a lush fairy tale through Chabouté’s stunning black-and-white art; he lavishes loving detail on the hermit’s fantastic inner life and his daily routines on the starkly beautiful island. Chabouté is justly celebrated in his native France, and this is widely regarded as his masterpiece. It’s a visually stunning humanist fable. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/22/2017
Release date: 07/11/2017
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