cover image This Is How I Disappear

This Is How I Disappear

Mirion Malle, trans. from the French by Aleshia Jensen and Bronwyn Haslam. Drawn & Quarterly, $24.95 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-77046-461-2

Malle (The League of Super Feminists) delivers a keenly observed graphic novel portrait of depression, trauma, and healing. Clara’s a poet whose life, on the surface, seems to be coming together. She has a book about to publish, a steady if frustrating job in publishing, and a circle of friends. But she struggles with suicidal thoughts and panic attacks that make daily life a battle, especially as her book launch pushes her anxieties to the fore. Malle’s loose, sprightly black-and-white pen art shines at depicting the details of artsy 20-something society: karaoke nights, soul-baring conversations at cafés and coffee shops, an emotional birthday party at a cabin. Clara’s experience highlights the mundane stresses of dealing with mental health, from searching for affordable therapy to learning how to set limits on social activities, as well as the deadening exhaustion of depression. “It’s like my head’s full of something black and sticky that sucks up all my energy,” she reflects. The leisurely paced story sometimes rambles in its search for a narrative thread, but eventually gets direction as Clara finds strength and support in her comrades. Reminiscent of the diary comics of Gabrielle Bell, this low-key look at life in recovery has a disarming simplicity and bracing sincerity. (Oct.)