Filed under: Comic Reviews, Indie Comics | Tags: Aneurin Wright, Welsh Eldorado
Hot off the presses just last month comes Aneurin (Nye) Wright’s tour-de-force, ‘Things to do in a Retirement Home Trailer Park (when you’re 29 an unemployed)’ – An epic 320-page autobiographical graphic novel about REAL things in REAL life.
A deeply moving and personal account of how Nye comes to terms with his dying father and more poignantly, how the relationships in his life creak under the pressure of becoming a 24-hour carer.
A daily regime of pill counting and medical checks take place among a curious collection of characters. Oddly enough, we have his father as a rhinoceros, Nye as a Minotaur and social workers as sea turtles but somehow the human aspects of every character flow through the book with ease. We switch from poignant reality check through to some amazingly funny moments and it’s this mix of other-worldly characters and reality that make this book all the more engaging.
Emphysema is the real-life enemy in this book and all from a life of smoking on Neil’s part and scattered through the story is a heady mix of anger, sadness and acceptance as the book progresses. If anything, I’m glad the book is as long as it is (although truth be told I flew through it fairly quickly) as it covers a passage of time where we see a great many changes as his father’s health deteriorates, as well as the complex human nature between the relatives, nurses and doctors as that time marches on.
Mixed through the story are some surreal changes of pace, one where we see Nye depicted as a 90’s superhero taking on the head of the tobacco company responsible for his father’s illness – in this case taking the form of a pig……seems to fit somehow…but then ALL the characters have that feel to them. The book is powerful from a dealing with health issues point of view but it’s also heavily about a father and son becoming closer when it matters and for me, that’s the strength of the writing again.
What’s a key part to Nye’s story-telling is his imagery and strong metaphors for life and his bold use of colours. Something we’ve seen before in his earlier work. A limited pallet of a few colours seem to glow on the page and have almost captured the life in the characters on show – not something that every writer/artist is able to accomplish but something that we’ve seen before in Nye’s previous work Lex Talionis (reviewed here), where the same range of colours is used to support the mood and feelings throughout the story.
I, myself, have seen my father come through illness in recent years and maybe that’s why this book resonates with me so much but I’d be inclined to think that there’s so much skill and artistry on show here that I’d have been intrigued in this story anyway. This is a real gem of a book, something to help reflect on real life and even wrapped up in its graphic novel casing and with its animal characters….it’s worth a read.
Find out more on the works of Aneurin Wright at the following link:
Plus we have an interview on it’s way soon too – here
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