All By Myself

Alone by Chabouté. Translated by Ivanka Hahnenberger. Gallery 13, 2017. 368pp. 9781501153327.

The English translation of Chabouté’s graphic novel adaptation of Moby Dick is amazing for its pacing, its artistry, and its sense of time and place. Alone is the story of a deformed man living alone in a remote lighthouse, separated from all humanity, his only contact with the outside world the boxes of supplies dropped off by fishermen (though they never see him). A new deckhand on the boat thinks the man must be unhappy, but his boss would rather not think about it. Inside the lighthouse, the man flips open a beat-up dictionary at random, reading definitions and imagining  the outside world. These short looks into his mind are brilliant, and form the heart of the book, telling as much about this lonely soul as the expressions on his face. And then the deckhand secretly initiates contact.

For such a long book, it really is a quick read, with long sections that are wordless. But I’ve found myself flipping it open again and again after finishing it the first time (or was it the second)?


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