Thursday, April 28, 2011


In a year I'll forget I ever read this book. But I'll be drifting off to sleep and will have a quick flash of rememberance of the architectural drawing of the detailed floorplan of the house, with the mother lying in the fetal position on her bed and the two boys looking for their father in the other rooms. Then my mind will drift to the pattern on the wall of the living room on the cover, and then I will remember how Harvey turns invisible, and I will want to read it again.

HarveyHarvey by Hervé Bouchard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A heart attack kills the father of two young boys, leaving their mother to raise them alone. One of the boys, Harvey, is obsessed with an old movie that no one else cares about.

Reading this book is like finding a moleskine someone left at a table in an independent coffee shop. You could pick it up, flip through, digest quickly and forget everything as soon as you close the last page. The book would seem confusing and pretensious and the character drawings juvenile. Or you could savor, take your time, and still feel the book resonate in your head long after you close it.

The art, while the characters are stripped down and simplistic, the textures and colors and backgrounds are so beautiful and detailed. Patterns drift off clothing onto the page and reform to mean something else.I want to take the wallpapers and fabric patterns off the pages and dress my house and myself in them. I want to live in this book, until it gets too sad.

The story of grief is so simple seeming, while at the same time, asks big questions. In addtion to grief the book touches on questions of existance. How often do you ponder that everyone knows a slightly different version of someone then everyone else knows. The father I know is not the exact same father my sister knows, while at the same time, he is father to us both, and it is the same for Harvey and his brother Canton and their father. The pages without text sometimes speak as loudly as those with a paragraph.

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  1. This was a very good review. It made me want to look for this book.

  2. Kevin! I think you'd really like it.