Fantagraphics. Aug. 2020. 92p. ISBN 9781683963158. pap. $16.99. Rated: Mature. erotic thriller
Gfrörer (Laid Waste) presents a haunting exploration of the painful vulnerability that results from a desire for human connection in this exquisitely drawn erotic thriller. A Victorian-era spinster named Eleanor feels trapped living with her younger brother Robert and wife Cora. Attending to Cora as her mental and physical health rapidly decline requires Eleanor’s constant attention, precluding her from finding time to undergo surgery on a cataract growing over one of her eyes. Her only meaningful relationship is with the disembodied spirit that possesses the mirror in her bedroom, which showers her with praise and affection when it’s not flying into a jealous rage. Meanwhile, Robert seems increasingly unhinged, and Cora insists that she’s the victim of mysterious disturbances during the night. Eleanor’s desire to join her disembodied lover in the inky void within the mirror is complicated when she develops an unexpected attraction to Cora’s doctor, setting in to motion a chain of tragic events that will alter—or end—the lives of everyone involved.
VERDICT Gfrörer’s deliberate pacing creates a sense of creeping dread and impending tragedy in this memorably disturbing, sexually charged ghost story.
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