cover image Pachyderme


Frederik Peeters, trans from the French by Edward Gauvin. Abrams/Self Made Hero, $19.95 (88p) ISBN 978-1-906838-60-7

Her flight to her injured husband's side interrupted by an injured elephant in the road, Carice Sorrel makes her way to the hospital where her husband Pierre %E2%80%94victim of a drunk driver%E2%80%94waits for her. There, guided by her own future corpse, Madame Sorrel has a series of increasingly surreal encounters; corpses talk, spectral babies wander the halls, and hidden truths crawl towards the light. Caught in a dreamlike path that crisscrosses time itself, a confused and frightened Madame Sorrel struggles to understand her true situation; she faces a terrifying transformation but as the aged, dead Madame Sorrel assures herself, what is frightening and tragic from one perspective can be liberating from another. Each element in the story has purpose and meaning, one that invites close examination. Peeters' is the winner of several European comics awards, and his work rises above mere period piece, offering the reader a story of painful growth and introspection. Masterfully translated by Edward Gauvin, Peeters' tale of self-discovery is enthralling; in the author's hands, Cold War paranoia and thoughtfully subverted realist art provides commentary on other kinds of secrets, other kinds of betrayals and the conflict between duty and need. (Oct.)