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BOOK: SABRINA by Nick Drnaso

| 19 October 2018 | Reply

BOOK: SABRINA by Nick Drnaso

Granta
July 2018
Hardcover, $32.99
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Graphic Novel
8/10

We live in strange, disturbing times. The internet – the greatest explosion of knowledge sharing seen in our species existence, has turned in on itself to create a plethora of people who wilfully ignore facts and instead choose to troll good people from the anonymity of their laptops. Empathy and consideration for the thoughts and feelings of others are outdated concepts to many, who prefer to sensationalise, marginalise and push their own unhidden and unhinged agendas.

Nick Drnaso’s graphic novel is a meticulous dissection of this moment in Western Society. The titular Sabrina is introduced subtly, talking with her sister Sandra and tentatively making plans for a cycling trip to “get away from the internet.”

Drnaso’s dialogue is sparse, but his panels show that the devil is in the details: simple and succinct the cartoons may be, they tell a shocking, hypnotic and revealing tale.

Sabrina vanishes, and her boyfriend Teddy, not coping through a complete breakdown, goes to visit Calvin, an air force employee and old friend. Teddy sits or lies on a mattress on the floor for the most part, listening to conspiracy theories on the radio and getting more and more paranoid and close to breaking point.

Anonymous online trolls question Sabrina’s disappearance in the same way that some insensitive scum question whether the Sandy Hook shootings actually took place, and Drnaso’s skill is in find ourselves unable to put the book down despite the offensive nature of these naysayers.

Through hundreds and hundreds of hand drawn panels we’re exposed to how easy it is to destroy truth, to lose faith in news, to not even trust what we know is true. And at the end of the story (I’m treading carefully to avoid spoilers) the fate of Sabrina remains open to debate from the reader.

It’s a confronting and unpleasant book, but it’s a highly intelligent and an important one that illuminates an extremely unpleasant trend in our lives, one which we will need to confront sooner than we might be comfortable with.

Shane

Category: Book Reviews

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