cover image The Leaning Girl

The Leaning Girl

François Schuiten, Benoît Peeters, and Marie-Françoise Plissart, trans. from the French by Stephen D. Smith. Alaxis Press (, $29.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-62847-227-1

Before “dark energy” and “string theory” entered the popular lexicon, the Belgian graphic novel wunderkind team of Schuiten and Peeters imagined how invisible cosmological forces might exercise their perplexing pull on a few select mortals in this fabulously original and haunting story, translated from the French. Mary Von Rathen, a charming sprite who drives her mother crazy with her boundless energy and insatiable imagination, embarks on the Star Express, an amusement park attraction that leaves her leaning at a constant diagonal—unable to stand up straight. Somehow, this incredible premise leads to a perfectly logical denouement involving competing dimensional realities and invisible planets with powerful gravitational fields. In a subplot, after being lambasted by the ranking art critics of the day, painter Augustin Desombres seeks refuge in an abandoned manor house on a desolate plane. The paths of Mary and Augustin finally cross in a creative and sexual conflagration of quantum proportions. The sixth in the ongoing, futuristic Obscure Cities series, The Leaning Girl offers superbly intricate artwork, and the writing has a literary scope that extends well beyond science fiction and flirts with greatness. (Nov.)