Mark's Reviews > I and You

I and You by Beverly Garside
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it was amazing

Atlas Eviscerated

Full disclosure: There is no writer on earth I loathe more passionately than the unspeakably iniquitous, philosophically sick and spiritually toxic Ayn Rand, whose deranged, narcissistic, sociopathic economic acolytes have now virtually destroyed this country. I could rant more vituperatively and still not express the depth of my loathing, but you get the idea.

So I would greet with utter glee any effective send-up of her psychopathological world view.

But this graphic novel, which really defies characterization, is so much more than that. Yes, it effectively deconstructs and demolishes Rand, but it does so through the eyes of one of her brainwashed devout apostles (Sara) in a dystopian future Randian Objectivist Republic (which, truthfully, might as well be tomorrow, because all of its excesses are merely the ones we can observe around us)... but a very human and sympathetic brainwashed apostle who comes finally to confront the fatal corruption of the Weltanschauung she's always devoutly embraced. It's the gradual and believable psychological meltdown and redemption of the escapee from a cult -- or one whose cult has dissolved around her. And it's gripping. But it's also a love story, a mordantly funny and intriguingly complex geopolitical mystery story... and it's page-turning throughout. There are all manner of "don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-them" clever, occult (sometimes multilingual) digs at corporations, government and the media. (One newscaster's name is "Mentira.") The author turns the right's penchant for bullying wordplay back on itself with a vengeance.

This is not the sort of thing you would expect of a comic book... er, graphic novel. I've read fewer than a dozen graphic novels, and the emphasis was always on the (sometimes wonderful) art, and a storyline barely limned by minimalist dialogue. This 205-page opus was the antithesis of that prevailing model. It's not for children or semiliterate adults. It's alternatingly wicked, funny, cerebral, romantic and... just thoroughly satisfying as a reductio ad absurdum of the pathology of Randian objectivist thinking. The minimalist, woodcut-style art of the talented illustrator enhances the emphasis on the storyline, and the dialogue is anything but minimalist. If you hate Rand, you'll love it. If you don't know who Rand is, you'll still love it. If you hate graphic novels, well, you'll still want to make this one exception. If you're a cognitively dualistic, confirmed acolyte of the Tea Party... well, you deserve what you get.
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Robert Peate Hi, Mark! I invite you to give my work Sisyphus Shrugged a try! http://www.sisyphusshruggedbook.com


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