Thursday, October 30, 2014

Through The Woods

     Having mentioned the work of Emily Carroll in a post long ago, it's a pleasure to note the publication of her first book, Trough the Woods.  Her ability to haunt a story is on full display at her website, and I hold her webcomic Margot's Room up to my graduate students as a prime example of how to reinvent and expand an established medium for a new platform.  The book, however, is a treat unto itself.  Her folktale-like settings sit magically on thick paper, her spare language tempts you down a dark path and her rough linework functions as an ideal counterpoint to the quiet menace of her tone and the brilliant color work all around.
     Each story in the collection is worth pouring over, but the standout is "The Nesting Place," the book's longest piece.  While Ms. Carroll makes an art of giving you exactly the right amount of information and ending at exactly the most lurching moment in most of her stories, this one is a full banquet.  A beautifully slow build fully delivers its central shock and then gives you something more afterwards, something that turns fairy tale standards a little on their heads; a fiendish balancing act that uses subtle suggestion to disturb but also serves up the huge money shot that horror sometimes demands.
      And what sort of treat could be better for Halloween? 

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