Grafity’s Wall: Expanded Edition

Dark Horse. Apr. 2020. 144p. ISBN 9781506715827. $19.99. Rated: Teen+. FANTASY
The vibrant streets of Mumbai come alive in this deeply felt coming-of-age story about a group of young people struggling to hold on to their dreams despite difficult circumstances. After a slum kid named Grafity begins practicing his artistic technique on a section of partially demolished wall in the wreckage of a condemned slum, the spot becomes a regular meeting place for him and three of his friends. Jay works for a loathsome drug dealer and hopes to become a musician instead of obeying his grandmother and applying for a job washing cars. Chasma, a thoughtful college student who hopes for literary success, persists in writing letters to strangers despite the mockery he receives in return. He’s in love with Saira, an aspiring actress, who commits a desperate crime that sets the course for the remainder of all of their lives.
VERDICT Illustrator Radhakrishnan heaps images and faces together in a disorienting, dynamic jumble to capture the fast-paced hustle and bustle of life in Mumbai, and author V’s (These Savage Shores. Vol. 1) skillfully develops endearing characters and slyly, eschewing melodrama, establishes how economic inequality oppresses them all.
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