GRAPHIC NOVELS

Glenn Ganges in “The River at Night.”

Drawn & Quarterly. Sept. 2019. 216p. ISBN 9781770463745. $34.95. Rated: Teen+. graphic novels
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While walking to the local library, Glenn Ganges contemplates time travel and the nature of consciousness. He spots a boy littering on the side of the road and can’t resist conjuring alternately angry and deeply empathetic rationales for the child’s behavior. Later that night, he reads a book and argues about pop music with his wife, Wendy, before bed. After Wendy falls asleep, Glenn discovers that he’s far too restless to settle down, thus beginning a staggeringly intense, brilliantly conceived and expertly executed sequence of vignettes that perfectly capture the experience of enduring a long, sleepless night. Images and associations swirl and recur in unexpected ways as Glenn’s thoughts dart from memories of becoming addicted to a first-person shooter videogame while working for an Internet startup in the late 1990s to his teenage reading habits to reflections on various abstractions to paranoia at what might be lurking in the darkness outside his home and beyond.
VERDICT There’s little plot and the stakes are low, but that doesn’t stop this latest from the accomplished Huizenga (Curses) from being a remarkably intelligent, playful, at times actually stressful, and thoroughly relatable reading experience like nothing else.

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