Cathy's Reviews > Black Hole

Black Hole by Charles Burns
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's review
Oct 31, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: horror
Recommended to Cathy by: Thompson
Recommended for: Adventurous readers; not for the squeamish
Read in August, 2007

I don't usually read graphic novels -- especially not gruesome graphic novels about teenagers with bizarre sexually transmitted deformities. But I loved this! Well, "loved" might be the wrong term, but I thought it was incredibly compelling.

With some graphic novels, I've found that the text distracts from the art, or vice versa, but Black Hole is seamless. The art and words equally carry the story. And that art is stunning -- the book looks like one long, detailed woodcut.

For a sometimes graphically horrific story, it's surprisingly sweet -- the teenagers are vulnerable and oddly romantic. It's a very realistic portrait of many aspects of teenage life in America (set in a convincingly detailed late '70s milieu) -- the boredom, the worries about social acceptance, the moony crushes. The effect ends up being less horrific (although some of the images are unforgettably gruesome) than wistful, sad, and sometimes funny.

I just finished "Never Let Me Go," and these books seem to have much in common to me -- oddly passive protagonists in a horrific situation, who mostly seem to lack the will to do anything to avoid it. Burns' teens get infected almost haphazardly -- they know the mysterious disease exists, but they'll still sleep with each other at the least pretext, as if trying to save themselves is futile. And yet they're capable of great courage and kindness. It's a haunting book on many levels and I'm really glad I read it.

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09/20/2016 marked as: read

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