cover image Through a Life

Through a Life

Tom Haugomat. Nobrow, $18.95 (184p) ISBN 978-1-910620-49-6

One man’s life, from birth to death, is laid out in stark form in this graphic novel composed entirely of images. Facing pages depict the protagonist, Rodney, and what he is seeing. He views the world through crib bars, windows, magnifying glasses, binoculars, telescopes, and even a part in the clouds. His dreams draw him to outer space, his work gets him there, and tragedy brings him back down to Earth. He also reaches more usual milestones of life: school, marriage, career, children, the deaths of parents, retirement. Some views from Rodney’s childhood repeat, showing the cyclical nature of life while implying that experiences can never be reproduced identically. Haugomat renders his art in the simplest shapes with muted cyan, magenta, yellow, and black spot colors. The figures have blank faces, leaving the reader to interpret their moods from context and body language. This is a spare, affecting work of quiet contemplation of a life in its barest form, containing only the events themselves, without the details of conversation, textual narrative, or inner monologue. By seeing both Rodney and through Rodney’s eyes, the reader discovers that human empathy can fill in the spaces. (Feb.)