One thought on “McGuire, Richard – Here

  1. Profile photo of Sophie Runpei HeSophie Runpei He

    Here Book Review
    Can a place tell a story? Here by Richard McGuire is an unconventional graphic novel that accounts the events from the point of view of a location instead of a character. It is a series of daily-life scenes that are scattered though several millennia which happened on the same piece of land, Here, being portrayed through the constant camera angle. The story doesn’t have a specific plot, allowing the readers to interpret their own version of the story through the fractured moments of life.
    The theme, artwork and dialogue reflects on the author’s creative and profound choices. Subjectively, the theme of this graphic novel can be interpreted with creativity, such as the complexity of time and the cruelty of history. “Time” itself is a man-made and subjective concept, hence enjoyable moments are often a flash while somber ones are prolonged. Men’s views of the world changes with time as well, events that one generation sees as normal might seem absurd to another, including the readers. The fact that only certain special events are presented- such as the same family’s different photos taken through multiple decades- shows how history only select the few moments of glory while letting the others fade. Similar thoughts can easily be inspired. The artwork of Here is interesting as the Panels and the background would often have different styles of illustration, further enhancing the presence of the queer passage of time. The color and lighting contrasts would successfully draw the reader’s attention to specific details. Certain panels would appear on the same location of the page while the spread background changes dramatically, which is a highlight of this novel. The dialogue present in the novel are all portrayed in the same speech bubble with little variations in the font. This forces the readers to add their own interpretations to the emotionless dialogue of the story, which reflects on coldness of history. Certain texts would appear as normal in the context of daily conversations; however, the context is often shattered. This caused certain remarks to have connotations for the audience, such as “the rest is all history”.
    Nevertheless, this novel is repetitive, vague and frigid. After a certain point, Here seems artificially stretched. The story degenerated to a bore as the events are similar and the combinations lost its original flavor. The reoccurring concepts and events seem too intentional as the remarks and events are of the exact same vacuous style. The imagined scenes of the future simply lack creativity and intensity, which seems like the forced attempt of filling in the pages. The lack of clarity in the story might be intentional, however, it simply lost all of its power as there is nothing deeper for the readers to hold on to. It felt like a handful of paper clips, a few solid points hooked together to form a general framework while the rest simply became its burden and crumbles. What is unpleasant about vagueness is that every element of the story can be explained and justified as the author’s intention. Since the story does not have a protagonist, it is definitely difficult for the readers to feel emotionally attached.
    Here is recommended for mature readers that enjoys artistic and philosophic works. The uniqueness of having fractured events may seem distracting for readers that are looking for a solid story.
    This novel is definitely an artistic piece; however, it isn’t exactly literature as the existence of a “plot” in the story is highly controversial. In addition, all interpretation of the isolated events are subjective to the reader, making this readers see different stories.

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