Andy Zeigert's Reviews > One Soul

One Soul by Ray Fawkes
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's review
Oct 11, 2011

it was amazing
Read in January, 2012

Not that I ever created a complete list of my favorite graphic novels of 2011, but if I had, I would revise it now to add Ray Fawkes' ONE SOUL.

I bought this handsome volume sometime in the fall of 2011, and for some reason kept moving it down my To Read list. Not sure why. I think I was intimidated by it. I knew the format was unlike anything I'd read before. Each two-page spread features 18 panels. Each panel tells the story of one person's life. As you read through the book, you follow all 18 lives one panel at a time.

At first the style is disorienting. It's difficult to track 18 stories at once! I recommend reading the first 20 pages or so and then going back and starting over. You'll find that all 18 lock in your memory eventually.

The scope and scale of the book is breathtaking. The characters' lives span the gamut of recorded human history, from caveman to black plague physician to modern anarchist punk. Fawkes' no-nonsense panels are usually easy to decipher, even if his narrative captions aren't always as easy.

It would be impossible for me to write here what ONE SOUL is about, other than in list form: life, death, God, honor, joy, sadness, pain, love and inky black water. And about a dozen other things. Fawkes succeeds in making you FEEL like you've read something profound, even if finding those bits of profundity in the chaos proves a little more difficult. The overall emotional effect is probably less of a statement by the author than it is an inference by the reader. And I mean that as a compliment. ONE SOUL is a story for and about all of us.
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