cover image Dear Julia

Dear Julia

Brian Biggs. Top Shelf Productions, $12.95 (112pp) ISBN 978-1-891830-12-9

No matter what, Boyd Soloman needs to fly. But before he finally takes the leap from his eighth-floor window, he writes a letter to his ex-girlfriend Julia trying to explain why. This missive takes readers into what's hiding in the recesses of Boyd's on-the-edge, lonely state of mind: his childhood desire to fly, his similarly afflicted father, a corpse on a road trip to Tucson and a strange Rumpelstiltskin-like figure who stalks Boyd--and hastens him toward his destiny. Biggs illustrates his madman's mysterious confession in subtle, muted pen-and-ink drawings tinged with despair and sweet humor. His characters' faces have a grotesque, weighted-down but nevertheless sympathetic quality. Readers who look carefully will note clever details--like Boyd's own reflection in the teaspoon as he dumps instant coffee into his mug--jumping out to brighten the otherwise murky mood. The story's great accomplishment is dragging the reader gently to the edge of sanity within Boyd's ambiguous world, without offering resolution. Conversely, this method of storytelling will frustrate--even infuriate--those who need transparent endings or irrefutable moral judgments. Once one is in the gray area of Boyd's consciousness, danger is also a call to possibility. Is Julia's letter a declaration of triumph or a suicide note? Is Boyd's fate comedy or tragedy? It depends entirely on one's perspective. (Mar.)