The Wrong Placeby Published 23 Nov 2010
|The Wrong Place.pdf|
|Publisher||Drawn and Quarterly|
Wanton youth seen through lush, dreamy, and sweeping watercolors.
Rendered in vividwatercolorwhere parquet floors and patterned dresses morph together, The Wrong Place revolves around the often absent Robbie, a charismatic lothario of mysterious celebrity who has the run of a city that is as chaotic as it is resplendent. Robbie's sexual energy captivates the attention of men and women alike; his literal and figurative brightness is a startling foil to the dreariness of his childhood friend, Francis. With a hand as sensitive as it is exuberant, Brecht Evens's first graphic novel in English captures the strange chemistry of social interaction as easily as he portrays the fragmented nature of identity. The Wrong Place contrasts life as it is, angst-ridden and awkward, with life as it can be: spontaneous, uninhibited, and free.
The Wrong Place Reviews
In vivid, vibrant rainbow of water colour Evens charts the anxiety, spontaneity, palpable awkwardness, heartbreak, ugliness, beauty and moments of chaos that characterize human social interactions and connections. The text and dialogue is loose and spare, allowing images/colours carry much of the book's weight. The basic story revolves around the luminous character of Robbie, a charming bon vivant whose name is always on everyone's lips, and who draws everyone into his orbit whenever he enters a room. He is contrasted with the dull (the character is, in fact, grey in colour) and repressed character of his childhood friend Gary, who, even among his friends is overlooked. Gary is sympathetic and relatable (when attempting to host a party, rehearses his script in the bathroom and struggles to hold his guests attention). But rather than deeply develop the characters, Evens suggests the night clubs and parties as characters themselves.
I particularly loved the kinetic collapsing of Evens illustration style in Robbie's lovemaking scenes, as well as the lush, visually dense double-page spreads of packed subway cars, overcrowded night clubs, and a multi-level staircase teeming with house-party guests. Evens style deftly captures our desire to be special/individuals (to matter, to stand out) at the same time that he communicates the feeling of isolation in a crowd and the fear of being socially eclipsed. The artistic decisions are smart, innovative and visually poetic--like having the characters' dialogue colour match their clothing, so you can keep track of who is speaking at the same time that there is a sense of people talking over each other, conversation literally hanging (free of the structure of speech bubbles) in the air. Evens is one to watch, The Wrong Place is stunning.
A quick read with fun and vibrant watercolor. I feel like I've been to that exact awkward dinner party, and that I know those party people, and that group of friends that revolved around a cult of personality, and I had that whirlwind club romance that lasts a night. Aaah, some fun nostalgia for me, and rendered with brilliantly stylish art.
Perfect as a library book.
Ergens waar je niet wil zijn vertelt het verhaal van alledaagse beslommeringen in kleurrijke aquarelprenten. Het verhaal begint met Bert, nogal een grijze muis, die een feestje houdt in zijn appartement. Gesprek van de avond is echter de populaire Robbie die niet aanwezig is. Wat volgt is een melancholische bespiegeling van het leven vol herkenbare dialogen. Naar de kapper gaan, dansen, drinken, one night stands, solliciteren naar een nieuwe job, platgedrukt worden in de metro: je vindt het allemaal in deze prachtige graphic novel van Brecht Evens.
Mijn complete recensie lees je op Boekvinder.be.
Read this one especially fast, by Flemish artist Brecht Evens... and Evens is the star here, with his flamboyant watercolors, so explosive, and yet subtle in terms of gesture and social interaction... Robbie is the main character, with all sorts of party scene sexual energy, an attraction for boys and girls... so it is about urban night life, buzzing with energy, yet beneath that there is caring for the characters, a sensitivity for them, he likes them all, sees things from a variety of perspectives... This is a "small" book in that it is not hugely ambitious as Art or Novel. but it is very likable and refreshing and feels new to me, so colorful and alive. My first experience with Evens...
Outstanding- Brecht has an extraordinary mix of gifts; exquisite and very original art style, a great ear for dialogue and the minutiae of social interactions and, above all, an complex understanding of how comics move through space and time (for example, the way he can use a tiny single speechless panel and a slight shift in body placement indicates the social exclusion of one girl from two others smoking cigarettes together).
The art is that of a detached observer- usually small figures in the middle distance, rarely if ever showing facial closeups - we drift through peoples lives, but are not participants in their circle. This detachment allows us to have some distance - we get none of the angry and very personal contempt that you can find in Clowes or Ware.
Brecht has compassion and empathy for all sides. So, the story appears to portray Gary as uninspired limited and, literally in the palette 'grey' whilst Robbie is utterly alive, vibrant and original. But Brecht is far more subtle than that- Gary may be insecure and limited but he is clearly a loyal friend and seeks to do something for wider society (he is working in a school). Robbie, on the other hand does nothing, lives off gambling and steals drinks. He uses people and, whilst maintaining contact with Gary only does so on his terms- failing to attend Gary's party and pressurising him to do things that make him embarrassed or uncomfortable. He uses women on a whim, seems to have no interest in what they say and leaves them feeling insecure and inadequate (after sex he just rolls over to go to sleep whilst his one night stand is left asking 'did I say something stupid?').
Really this book is about social power and Brecht is showing us how rewards flow to people who have that power. But what we don't see is what happens to steady dull Gary and party animal Robbie 10 or 20 years on when the money runs out and the alcohol has taken its toll.
All in all, an outstanding work from a great creator that hugely expands the potential of comics.
Brecht shows people
and all this with great compassion