Sweet Time

Drawn & Quarterly. Jun. 2020. 160p. ISBN 9781770463851. pap. $24.95. Rated: Teen+. short stories
DEBUT Melancholy and an intense interest in the human need for developing close relationships and understanding permeate the short stories in this first collection from Singaporean cartoonist Pixin. In “Birds,” a couple searches for a house whose owner keeps a collection of wild birds in their lush garden. Once they find it, the sense of wonder they feel is quickly soured by a disagreement over whether they might make good travel companions. The titular piece, “Sweet Time,” opens with a recently heartbroken woman forging a surprising bond with a man she meets in a bar. They go home together, and Pixin renders their bodies merging into an abstract field of color that then transforms into the sunset as the lovers wake and endure an awkward, silent breakfast in each other’s company. Pixin’s illustration complements her thematic interests perfectly, as her use of thick, colorful brushstrokes and fine ink lines evoke at once a warmth and poignant fragility, as though any moment might potentially lead to either a declaration of love or scathing rebuke.
VERDICT Pixin’s compassion and artistic ambition are evident on every page of this memorable debut.
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