Here by Richard McGuire

It is already the fifth day of 2015, but happy new year!

A few days ago, I remarked to Sarah that there should be a few transitional days before the last day of the year and the first day of the new one. It doesn’t seem proper to jump from the end to a beginning* right off the bat. My humble recommendation was to declare the rest of the week following 31 December a period of limbo, or day(s) 0/Zero. 1 January will then start on a Monday every year.

You’re welcome.

The first book of the year should be chosen with much care. I did very well this year, with Here by Richard McGuire. We bought this a couple of weeks ago during the Kino sale. I usually get my graphic novels from Book Dep, but a 20% off Kino’s listed price meant the price difference was minimal. It was a good call, because that meant that when I was shopping around the bookshelves at home for 2015’s first book, this was an option.

Here by Richard McGuire

Here is a graphic novel, though not in the sense you would imagine or are used to. It is made up of scenes of a single location from different years: an imagined view from the prehistoric era, a piece of jungle in the 17th century, and then in the most oft appearance as part of a sitting room.

There are no protagonists to root for, just people for whom this location was at some point part of their lives, passing through. You get glimpses of a family, of toddlers growing up into sullen adults, of unexpected parallels between the remote past and the not-yet-ancient present. The scenes play out in no particular order; sometimes one is dedicated to a single moment, and other times it is a collage of several, each finding poignancy in its juxtaposition with the other(s).

Here by Richard McGuire

Here by Richard McGuire

The main narrative, for me at least, then is that of the passage of time, the course of time in that physical dimension in its many incarnations. It reads like a photo album, though not of a family or even a human. This is the history of a little spot, told in non-linear snatches, because thanks to time’s culling and embellishing clout, don’t all memories too run similarly untethered to chronology?

* But I suppose you can’t call an end the end, if you won’t acknowledge a beginning. Sorry.