Cormorance

Nick Hayes. Jonathan Cape, $31.95 (184p) ISBN 978-1-910702-05-5
Hayes (Guthrie and the Dust Bowl Ballads) meditates on loss and the rituals created around mourning in a book largely silent except for the caws of cormorants. The first chapter follows a boy whose mother has died; overwhelmed by grief and anger, he throws away his photos of her and then begins a trek to retrieve them. The second chapter finds a girl in a similar situation, as she trains to swim a 100-meter race to complete a journey started with her mother. The boy and girl meet up, accidentally, and come to aid each other in their quests, joyously joining in with the birds’ singing when triumphant. The art’s blue wash suggests a constant state of being underwater, mediated only by the accent of pale red-orange swimming gear. Figures consist of looping lines of varying weights, giving them a graceful fluidity. There is an oddly frantic pace despite the melancholic tone of the work; Hayes goes overboard in his page design, unnecessarily cramming as many as 18 panels on a page. Though technically impressive, the work’s simple and resonant themes are overwhelmed by the sheer density of visuals. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/05/2018
Release date: 05/01/2018
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