Wednesday 20 March 2013

The Nao of Brown

Glyn Dillon, 2012
(February 2013)

This is just gorgeous. Here, have a look at some panels other people have uploaded in far better quality than I could hope to reproduce. The actual book has two hundred watercolour pages that work perfectly.

Unlike all the other books that I say I’m going to reread at some point to understand them better, this time I actually mean it. Nao is a half-British half-Japanese woman (so y’know, there’s that) struggling with mental health issues (which is happily less close to home) and various romantic entanglements (nostalgia’s a wonderful thing, don’t you find) while trying to locate herself more fully in the real world (and who isn’t)? Lots to go at there.

I’m not even going to attempt to unpack what that means to me on the first reading. The first nine-tenths of this are beautiful, both in form and content, and even allowing for a ‘friendzone’ plot strand that sometimes feels a little icky (which is part of why I feel the ending doesn’t quite work). However, even while noting the inevitable reduction in remaining pages, when the end did come it took me a bit by surprise and not, sadly, in a good way.

Still though, I may well reassess that on further reading, and I’d take 90% great over 100% mediocre every time. There is also the bonus of a scene set in what passed for my local when I lived on Holloway Road. Nostalgia really is wonderful.

Bugger it. Have another picture -


  1. I gotta....I gotta go back to the cover back 2 shouldn't post them anywhere near each other. One looks like Art (this post) and the other like something in the hallway on the floor in front of the Art class door....and it has a big "F" on it with "WTF is THIS???" underneath it.

    1. Well, to be fair it's certainly stuck itself in your head, so job half done, I suppose. Shame about the other half, is all...

  2. What is her diagnosis? Looks like an interesting book.

    1. Aside from the old 'Machine for a Head Syndrome' you mean? The blurb says OCD, but I'm not sure that's right. I'm very far from being an expert on that, of course.