cover image The Nao of Brown

The Nao of Brown

Glyn Dillon. Abrams/Self Made Hero, $24.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-906838-42-3

A surprising and challenging piece, this quite literate graphic novel serves up a richly nuanced look at the daily life of Nao Brown, a 20-something hafu (half English, half Japanese) woman who works as a designer at a specialty toy store in contemporary London. Nao finds herself stuck in the nebulous area of biracial biculturalism and weathers the trials of the dating arena while also contending with common misperceptions about her Asian side. Further complicating her existence is a case of debilitating OCD, coupled with the frequent desire to inflict violent harm on people she encounters, twin demons that at times necessitate her retreat from the world. This is a dense work that gets into the often-disturbing realms found in Nao’s mind and the more we get to know of her, the more wrenching her situation becomes. Dillon turns in a narrative tour de force, featuring a script that works in perfect concert with almost cinematic art reminiscent of Milo Manara, but with far more expressive characters A triumph of comics for grownups, this is a must-read. (Oct.)