Familiar Face

Drawn & Quarterly. Mar. 2020. 176p. ISBN 9781770463875. $21.95. Rated: Teen+. literary
An unnamed narrator living in a city where geography, architecture, and bodies are all subject to constant radical changes they refer to as “optimizations” is left adrift when her girlfriend vanishes without a trace. Unsure whether her solitude is owing to optimization or having been dumped, she searches for answers. Discerning the truth in a world where your computer attempts to distract you with pornography or jazz music before declaring it’s in love with you, and where city streets suddenly change direction or fold in on themselves and there’s no way to tell how many limbs you’ll have attached to your body from one day to the next proves difficult. It doesn’t get any easier when a terrorist cell hijacks the system and begins implementing changes of its own—unless these acts of terrorism are in fact signals from said narrator’s girlfriend, meant to explain where she’s gone and why.
VERDICT DeForge (Leaving Richard’s Valley) pushes his ability to wring pathos out of surreal situations further than ever in this dazzling satire of technology run rampant that doubles as a meditation on the sense of alienation that often grows out of heartbreak.

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