Book Review: Daytripper

A secene from the novel. (Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá)

I spent this last weekend in Athens, GA. In between drinking and setting off fireworks in a pool (fun and awesome!), I made my way down to Bizarro Wuxtry, the comics shop/general haven of weirdness that lives above regular Wuxtry, the music store where REM got its start. (I can’t hear well, and I don’t own a record player, so I prefer the bookstore.) I bought American Born Chinese but had to return it because a page was torn. Not wanting to disappoint the comic store clerk, I picked up Daytripper.

The graphic novel, written by two twin brothers, is set in São Paulo, Brazil. It tracks the life of a man named Brás de Olivia Domingos, who wants to be a novelist but writes obituaries for a living. Each chapter of the book follows him through an important life event, tracking what his obituary would read like if he died after it. The events span most of his life, and are united thematically rather than chronologically. Some of the events are real and some are imaginary; the distinction isn’t clear.

By the end of the book you have a pretty complete picture of his life, including Brás’ long-term and complicated relationships with his best friend Jorge, various women, and his father, a famous novelist in whose shadow he lives. Though not the most compelling narrative in the world (it’s a dreamy sort of book), the stories are interesting and allow you to see a bunch of different snapshots of Brazil.

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