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Wednesday, 23 May 2018

New D+Q: Sabrina by Nick Drnaso


Nick Drnaso's second full length book hits shelves today! It follows several characters' lives that are interconnected by the disappearance of the titular Sabrina. In the same vein as Beverly, Drnaso's impressive debut, Sabrina delves deeply into the suburban Midwestern experience.


In the wake of tragedy, Sabrina's boyfriend, Teddy, takes refuge at a childhood friend's home. Calvin generously agrees to look after Teddy as best he can, despite dealing with his own grief over a failed marriage, and an uneventful career with the U.S. Air Force. In glimpses we see Sabina's sister, Sandra, coping with meditation and group therapy.


Sabrina is remarkable for the way it convincingly conveys the texture of daily life. Drnaso draws these lives in such conceivable detail that you can almost hear the room tone in each panel. His deft integration of watching television, playing video games, or perusing e-mails gives visual expression to an experience that has become second nature to many.


As Teddy withdraws from his reality, he begins tuning into an alternative talk radio universe - one that is obsessed by secrets and lies. And, when a video of Sabrina surfaces, a horde of righteous conspiracy theorists begin harassing the victims of this senseless crime. In the Trumpian era of fake news, it's a timely depiction of the climate of public discord.


Nothing is explicit in Drnaso's work. Connections present themselves, but it never feels as though the artist is guiding the reader to some predetermined conclusion. This understated style makes for a nuanced and compelling read. Sabrina is a complex, touching portrait of contemporary middle class American life in all its attendant joys and sorrows, dreams and disappointments.


For more on this book, read words from editor here.

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