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Book review: ‘Susceptible’

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J. Caleb Mozzocco

The Details

Susceptible
Four stars
By Geneviève Castrée, Drawn and Quarterly, $20

Canada’s Geneviève Castrée is an artist and a cartoonist, but she’s also a musician, performing under the name Ô Paon. That might explain why her striking and heartbreaking yet oddly uplifting graphic memoir Susceptible seems composed more than written, an album more than a novel. In it Castrée is Goglu, a young girl who doesn’t see her father from age 5 to 15, and whose drinking, drugging mother doesn’t exactly provide a stable environment. In flat black-and-white art featuring characters with a religious icon-like simplicity, sometimes embedded in a void of un-drawn-upon white space, Castrée recounts the depressing story of her childhood, which earns a happy ending merely by ending. Goglu eventually becomes an adult, and thus master of her own destiny. Well, there’s that, and the fact that we know she will grow up to be an incredible artist with a rare talent for emotionally piercing storytelling, the evidence of which we hold in our hands.

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