The Clarence Principle

Fehed Said, Author, Shari Chankhamma, Illustrator SLG Publishing $12.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-59362-064-6

Chankhamma’s gorgeous manga-inspired art makes this book. She draws moody, evocative landscapes, densely twisting trees, ornate banisters and big-eyed characters all with the same skill and emotive touch. Unfortunately, Said’s story isn’t quite as original. The angsty tale takes place following the suicide of the main character, Clarence, who is searching for a kind of healing in death. An implicit romanticization of death and suicide is drawn out over an episodic narrative that relies much too heavily on atmosphere and offers little substance, as Clarence wanders an afterlife encountering various mysterious beings all on their own quests. While some gloom-loving readers may find comfort in the ruminations on emptiness, the self-conscious stylings are often flat and forced. An introduction by Hayden Scott-Baron does little to enhance understanding of the story. Wisely, however, the book concludes on a high note with a series of sketch studies. It’s a pleasure to look into Chankhamma’s lovely designs of scenes including “the courtyard and the book tree” and the “Death flower shop.” (May)

Reviewed on: 05/28/2007
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Fiction
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