cover image Dogs and Water

Dogs and Water

Anders Nilsen, . . Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95 (96pp) ISBN 978-1-897299-08-1

A young man wanders a war-torn tundra accompanied only by a stuffed bear. As he wanders, he encounters various animals and humans who all prove inferior to the lifeless bear as a real companion—imaginary friends are the best ones in a world where everyone competes for meager resources. Nilsen has crafted a haunting fable of humanity and loneliness, confronting tropes about journeys and destinations. "I know this whole venture is not about having a goal," he tells the bear at one point. "But doesn't the whole idea of a journey become kind of meaningless if there's not a sense of some destination?" Each encounter is more troubling than the last: a bus shows up but a passenger shoots at the narrator. A pack of reindeer try to steal the bear. In return, the narrator blinds one of the majestic stags with a rock. A human who shows up in the bleak terrain tries to steal the narrator's pack. The narrator is finally accepted by a pack of wild dogs that lives off the remains of both the humans and animals already encountered. Nilsen's open, simple yet graceful art captures the eerie, empty sense of loss that permeates this unsettling, memorable story. (May)