Tag Archives: melancholy

The Book of Memory Gaps by Cecilia Ruiz

The Book of Memory Gaps by Cecilia Ruiz Title: The Book of Memory Gaps
Author: Cecilia Ruiz
Publisher: Blue Rider Press
ISBN: 978-0399171932
Genre: Comic Strips, Graphic,
Pages: 64
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5 Stars

The fourth book read this month and let me tell you, that while it may be a short book, it certainly will linger in your memory for a while. Funny how I used memory there when the book is about memory gaps. It is a tribute to Jorge Luis Borges and his meditations on memory and time.

Ruiz tells tales of individuals whose memories have failed them. These individuals’ tales are short – a few lines and the rest of the talking is done by the illustrations accompanying them. These stories have to do with false memories, memories that keep getting renewed each day and getting nowhere, memories that are not wanted and memories that keep going in circles. The instances of not remembering are also witty sometimes – also heartbreaking to a large extent.

Some characters suffer from dementia. Some are just lost. Some are searching endlessly. It is almost like the collection of these small tales represents one emotion: Melancholy. The illustrations also go so well with the text – they are dusky and have this dreamlike quality attached to them. The book resonated with me long after. It is the kind of book that stays with you. I am still reeling from its effect.

Kari by Amruta Patil

So this was the 3rd time that I finished reading Kari and everytime that I wanted to write about it in the past, words escaped me. I could not pinpoint the specific emotion to nail this graphic fiction down and may be I will not be eloquent now as well, however I will try my best.

Kari is about love, loneliness, anxiety, angst, melancholy, alienation and happiness – all rolled into one – the setting being the city by the sea, also known as The Smog City. So Kari and her soulmate Ruth take the leap together, they fall from the terrace of different buildings (no reason given whatsoever – I presume, its love and the longing which does not end) and both survive the fall (in a weird sort of way). While Ruth decides to find her roots elsewhere, Kari stays on in the city and survives because of the sewers. She wants to clean the cogs and becomes a boatman before you know it.

Along the way we are introduced to people you might have seen or come across in your day-to-day interactions – the ever foolish women whose existence is incomplete without the men in their lives. The brash Angel who is dying of Cancer and attracts Kari in the most affable manner (personally I loved Angel parts in the novel). Kari is a hero in a PVC Suit. A fallen angel – clipped wings that are etched in a tattoo on her back – its beautiful how Amruta manages to combine poetry to prose in the book. At some point, I wished this was not a graphic novel, I wanted it to be fiction, purely because there would be more to read and devour.

My favourite bits of the novel: Kari and Angel’s trip to the beach, Kari wanting to look like Sean Penn, the first time Ruth and Kari meet, Kari stepping out in the rain to go and meet Angel and last but not the least, the end with the possibility of life and joy and the promise of  a sequel which I am waiting for with bated breath.

Related Reading: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, Affinity by Sarah Waters, Oranges are not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson, Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson, Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters, The Night Watch by Sarah Waters, The Passion by Jeanette Winterson, Nightwood by Djuna Barnes, Books by Dorothy Allison.

I have to start reading related reading as well and watch movies related to the topic for more insights. I love where reading can take you.