Swimming in Darkness

Lucas Harari, trans. from the French by David Homel. Arsenal Pulp, $24.95 (152p) ISBN 978-1-551-52767-3
Harari melds academia, obsession, and mysticism in this eerie graphic novel about a young man traveling through a mysterious network of mountainside baths. Pierre, a French grad student who dropped out of school after a mental breakdown, decides to confront the object of his obsessive thesis: the Vals Thermal Baths in Switzerland. Along the way, he learns there’s a legend that “every hundred years, the mountain chooses a foreigner, lures him into its mouth, and swallows him up.” Pierre encounters a rival who will stop at nothing to gain the bath’s secrets, a woman also fascinated by their maze, and an eccentric hermit who tells him the legend is true. Harari works in a clear line with a sickly pastel palette, and his attention to architectural detail is crucial in establishing the strange, sinister mood. Disappearing doors, murder attempts, and unexpected romance all lead Pierre to his inevitable destiny with the mountain. This is a stylish, atmospheric book whose deliberate pacing deliciously builds tension and mystery. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 10/18/2019
Release date: 11/01/2019
Genre: Comics
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