cover image The Playwright

The Playwright

Daren White and Eddie Campbell, Top Shelf, $14.95 (160p) ISBN 978-1-60309-056-8

This intimate look into the self-isolated existence of a successful middle-aged playwright is told in a dispassionate observational style, with its words perfectly coupled with From Hell artist Campbell’s evocative wash-toned illustrations. Wistful and quite melancholy, this narrative examines the playwright’s world and reveals how his loveless upbringing programmed him for a life marked by self-esteem issues and self-sabotage in his abortive relationships with women. Unexpectedly, when his parents die, the playwright allows his mentally challenged brother to move in and hires a full-time nurse to attend to him. As his brother and the nurse settle in, the playwright encounters a caring family situation for the first time, and his association with the nurse blossoms into a relationship that slowly draws him out of his virtual hermitage while simultaneously replacing the hollowness of his success. But now that he’s coming out of his shell, what will become of his career? At times painful and uncomfortable, this quiet character study details the playwright’s state of “relentless mental narration” and succeeds on several levels, but its most potent component is the clearly recognizable and utterly naked humanity. (July)