A House in the Jungle

Nathan Gelgud. Koyama, $24.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-927668-62-7
A dread of forces seen and unseen pervades this dreamlike graphic novel, which explores government corruption, mob mentality, and altered states. The taciturn farmer Daniel grows pineapples in the jungle outside of a tiny town that is steadily being altered by an unelected mayor’s alleged “improvements.” Daniel’s solitary existence intersects with the lives of the townspeople as the demand for his unique pineapples grows into a kind of mania. For Daniel, it’s a distraction from his ambition to re-create a meditative vision he once had. Gelgud’s spare illustration style, which eschews panel borders and makes canny use of white space, juxtaposes the mundanity of Daniel’s everyday life—feeding his cat, fishing, bathing in the river—with the community’s increasing distrust of him. People begin to suspect his fruit is to blame for bizarre behavior and, eventually, disappearances in the town. With a local woman, Meg, Daniel sets out to solve the mystery, but his mind can’t stay trained in the material world and gets lost in the mystical. The story offers no easy conclusions; the surreal tone, as lush as the jungle setting, makes the volume worth rereading for the questions it raises as much as for the answers it hints at. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/27/2018
Release date: 10/01/2018
Genre: Comics
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