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Book Review < Back

Sleepwalk and Other Stories

Credits: Written and Illustrated by Adrian Tomine
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly


I read SLEEPWALK AND OTHER STORIES (Adrian Tomine's collection of the first four Optic Nerve books) on the subway. I got that "in between" feeling I generally reserve for hotel bars. Do you know that feeling? The one that says you're separate from everyone else, or perhaps more accurately, everyone is separate and we're all watching one another from a great distance. SLEEPWALK has something vaguely voyeuristic about it. My favorite story was "Lunch Break." It's a pinprick of a tale about an elderly woman who packs a lunch every day and walks ten feet to eat in it in her car, then goes back inside. When I came home, I looked up "poignant" in the dictionary: "profoundly moving; touching." It's the same feeling you expect to get from Chandler. It's the kind of honesty that makes you want to write.

"Summer Job," a painful portrait of an annoying loser who works in a copy shop to subsidize his zine, caused me to flip back to Tomine's picture just to make sure I didn't know him. I figured I must, since he so accurately captured all of my loser stoner friends and me. As it happens, I don't know Tomine and if you were around 24 in 1994, they're probably your loser stoner friends, too.

SLEEPWALK does have the same feel as reading someone's diary and while I suppose a few of these stories could be autobiographical, I hope they're not. I hope he made the whole thing up.

-- Kelly Sue DeConnick

Kelly Sue DeConnick relocated from Brooklyn, New York to Kansas City, MO, where she lives with her husband and artbomb.net colleague, Matt Fraction. Kelly Sue writes the English adaptations of several manga titles published by Tokyopop and Viz. She can be found on the web at kellysue.com.


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