Title: Are You Listening?
Author: Tillie Walden
Genre: YA Graphic Novels
Number of Pages: 320
Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault & Incest (neither shown nor described in detail)
I don’t know exactly what I expected from this graphic novel but it turned out to be something quite a bit different. Good different. I guess for one thing I was expecting it to have a more cut-and-dry realistic feeling to it, but it turned out to be very strange and sometimes dreamlike or hallucinatory at times. Are You Listening? is kind of the graphic novel version of a road movie, with some David Lynch-esque obscurity thrown in for good measure.
Two androgynous women drive through a desolate landscape and begin to form a bond through their shared loneliness and trauma. Both of these women are lesbians but their relationship is platonic, with one of them (Bea) being quite a bit younger than the other. Bea is escaping from a family situation and Lou reluctantly lets her hitch a ride. They squabble, tell each other secrets, and find a stray cat before finding themselves ensnared in a town straight out of The Twilight Zone.
The conflict is mostly psychological and the landscape is a personification of that. It’s monochromatic but at the same time breathtaking. I was excited for this book so I bought a copy, and even though I don’t like to buy graphic novels because I usually finish them in one sitting (like I did with this one) I didn’t regret making the purchase. Tillie Walden is a talent to watch out for and I’m looking forward to seeing where her career takes her.
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