March 19, 2016

A Truly Epic Love Story: Daniel Clowes' "Patience"

I checked this out of the library. When I saw that Clowes had a new book coming out, I put it on my wishlist, sight unseen and waited. Adam Grant’s newish book was due, and I returned it. The circulation lady at the desk let me know that this had come in. As she scanned, it, she said “patience is a virtue”. Looking at her eyes, I thought she might be flirting with me, but I’m about ten years older than she is and married and not interested. So I didn’t know what to say. I hope I smiled so that she knew I was friendly or at least not a sociopath.

I went home. Placed it in the table on my main living level. My wife wanted to go to this thing with her friend, a stand-up comedy open mike that had some mid-level talent. I drove her to it and then came home and started to drink some beer while messing around on twitter and other social media and writing a couple other things.

After a couple, I thought I would go and grab my new graphic novel. It seemed pretty straight forward. For about eight pages. The thing turns into this interesting time travel narrative. I’m not sure if the science works, but I am usually a stickler for world building making sense in the narratives I read. There were no red flags for me. Or that could have been the beers speaking, I’m not sure. The basic story is a man falls in love with woman who meets a violent end. He then does whatever he can to find out what happened. That means time travel in this event. Thinking on it as I read it, it wasn’t really science fiction because of the time travel, it was more a magical realism like Lethem’s “Fortress of Solitude”, where the fantastic helps tell the story.

Because what the story is is a really deep and moving love story that defies the traditional dimensions of space and time. I know I put this book on reserve because of the author, the truth is that he has let me down for the most part since the triumph of Ghost World. This may not rise to his youthful promise, but if it were a book by anyone else, we would be praising a new talent. It is worth the ride, even if there is something left wanting at the end.