Review: Here by Richard McGuire

January 21, 2015 Reviews 5 ★★★★★

Here by Richard McGuire
Published by Hamish Hamilton on December 4, 2014
Genres: Graphic Novel
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
Source: Puchased
Here is Richard McGuire's unique graphic novel based on the legendary 1989 comic strip of the same name.

Richard McGuire's groundbreaking comic strip Here was published under Art Spiegelman's editorship at RAW in 1989.

Built in six pages of interlocking panels, dated by year, it collapsed time and space to tell the story of the corner of a room - and its inhabitants - between the years 500,957,406,073 BC and 2033 AD.

The strip remains one of the most influential and widely discussed contributions to the medium, and it has now been developed, expanded and reimagined by the artist into this full-length, full-colour graphic novel - a must for any fan of the genre.

This is not so much a review as me frantically urging you, “Please go check out this book!”  I read a review of the graphic novel, Here, shortly before it was published in December.  It sounded so interesting – a novel that depicts images showing how a living room of a single house and its various inhabitants change over many decades.  The author also depicts that same little slice of our planet in the earliest days of Earth, as well as imagining what it will look like far into the future.  The novel is long on graphics and short on words, but these images tell us so much, and many of the pages show various timelines overlaid on one another.

Right about now, I’m realizing that what I typed above might not be very clear, so let me show you a few pages from Here:

IMG_2084[1] IMG_2085[1] IMG_2087[1]

OK, that’s better.  Some of the overlaid images seemingly have little relationship to each other.  In other cases it’s clear, such as a single page showing someone putting wallpaper up and someone else tearing it down decades later.  Or, as shown above, babies being born to different inhabitants over the years.

The day I got the book, I tore through it, and then I had a second read to allow myself more time to enjoy the stories that were unfolding on every page.  The timeline is non-linear, and as the pages skip from 1910 to 3,000,000,000 B.C to 2200 A.D., I felt more and more connected to this house.  When was it built?  How long into the future will it last?  The non-linear timeline creates suspense both small and large – will a knock on the door in 1986 be answered?  How was the window broken?  Will the noise heard by the native American couple in the woods in 1609, where the house has yet to be built, turn out to be dangerous?  Some questions are directly answered, and some aren’t answered at all.  Others are subject to interpretation.

I’d never had a reading experience like this.  I’d say it was magical, but is that too cheesy?  (Whoops – just said it!)  But this is why I want you to seek out this book.  It’s a bit pricey, but think about Here next time you get a B&N coupon.  Or check it out from your library.  Or even browse through it at your local bookstore.  I think you’ll be happy you did.

So, tell me: do you read graphic novels?  Why or why not?  And does Here sound like something you’d like?







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