by Roxane Gay, Tracy Lynne Oliver
Publication Date: October 27, 2020
Genres: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Roxane Gay, Tracy Lynne Oliver, and Rebecca Kirby adapt Gay’s New York Times bestelling short story “We Are the Sacrifice of Darkness” as a full length graphic novel, expanding and further developing the unforgettable world where the sun no longer shines.
“When I was a young girl, my husband’s father flew an air machine into the sun. Since then, the days have been dark, the nights bright.”
Follow one woman’s powerful journey through this new landscape as she discovers love, family, and the true light in a world seemingly robbed of any. As she challenges notions of identity, guilt, and survival she’ll find that no matter the darkness, there remains sources of hope that can pierce the veil.
The book starts with the sun going out after a miner, Hiram Hightower, flies a spaceship into it. Exactly why he did that is something that the reader figures out as the book progresses. There are two storylines, separated into before and after the event, and each follows a couple. Before the event is the story of Hiram and Mara, and after is the story of their son, Joshua, and Claire. While it does deal with the community’s response to the loss of the sun and how they blame the remaining Hightowers, for me the main draw was the romances between the two couples.
As a miner, Hiram comes from the wrong side of town, while Mara is the daughter of a lawyer. Each are expected to follow in their parents’ footsteps, and while Hiram is proud to be a miner, Mara’s more interested in gardening and spending time with Hiram. He truly loves mining, and I found his take on it – uncovering treasures, finding the unknown – very poetic. Things change, though, when the valuable flareon is found in the mines, and suddenly the workers are working double-shifts six days a week – for five years – making others rich but not themselves. Hiram barely gets to see his wife any longer, or his young son. After the event, Claire is urged by her mother to befriend the ostracized Joshua, and as the years pass, their friendship slowly changes into romance. I found their childhood friends to lovers arc very sweet.
The art is absolutely gorgeous. The colors are watercolor-like and beautiful – yellows for the “after” and peaches for the “before.” Even with the limited color palette, the characters are well drawn, unique, and deeply emotional. There’s a good balance between the text and the art – the page never feels too cluttered.
What really didn’t work for me, though, was the ending. I think I understand what the author was trying to express in terms of healing generational trauma and wealth inequalities, but it seemed too neatly tied up too quickly.
Overall, I did enjoy the story, and will honestly most likely buy a hardcopy of this just to enjoy the beautiful artwork more.