Wednesday, 19 November 2008

New Release - The Lagoon

Here's a haunting puzzle of a book. The Lagoon by Lilli Carre (Tales of Woodsman Pete) has a cover which brings to mind a whimsical fairytale, but inside holds some quite haunting, vaguely gothic storytelling.

The story, what there is of one, revolves around a girl who lives near a lagoon which holds a creature that sings. The song has a hypnotic affect on the adults in the book, calling some to a watery grave.

On the surface it seems like an interesting exercise in style as Carre attempts to convey or at least invoke sound in the readers mind. Notes float across the page, as well as onomatopoeia, but only for the sounds she wants to highlight. Many panels show objects that are producing a sound - wind through the trees, a clock - and because she had made me aware of the sound I found that I felt these 'silent' sounds instinctively.

Further readings of the book uncover interesting depths and motifs and I found myself searching for the message Carre had about adulthood and childhood. The girl never sees the creature, only the results of his actions. But the adults are under its spell in a way they are unable to communicate as if they were hooked on a drug. They all have a yearning to be young again, blindly following a mythical creature whilst the girl just seems sceptical.

The art is reminiscent of David B by way of Charles Burns and perfectly conveys the mystery and dark beauty the narrative cries out for. Strangely seductive and affecting. SLS

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