by Theo Ellsworth; Jeff VanderMeer
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 28 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 8 Oct 2021
Drawn & Quarterly, Drawn and Quarterly
An uncanny and eye-opening journey into a mysterious building, adapted from a short story by Jeff VanderMeer
To the west: trees. To the east: a mall. North: fast food. South: darkness. And at the centre is The Building, an office building wherein several factions vie for dominance. Inside, the walls are infiltrated with vines, a mischief of mice learn to speak English, and something eerie happens once a month on the fifth floor. In Secret Life, Theo Ellsworth uses a deep-layered style to interpret Nebula award-winning author Jeff VanderMeer’s short story. What emerges is a mind-bending narrative that defamiliarizes the mundanity of office work and makes the arcane rituals of The Building home.
When his manager borrows his pen for a presentation, a man is driven to unspeakable acts as he questions the role the pen has played in his workplace success. The despised denizens of the second floor develop their own tongue, incomprehensible to everyone else in The Building. A woman plants a seed of insurgency that quickly permeates every corner of the building with its sweet, nostalgic perfume.
With deft insight, Secret Life observes the sinister individualism of bureaucratic settings in contrast with an unconcerned natural world. As the narrative progresses you may begin to suspect that the world Ellsworth has brought to life with hypnotic visuals is not so secret after all; in fact, it’s uncannily similar to our own.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 6 members
I'm a big fan of Jeff VanderMeer. The Southern Reach triology is one of my favorites. I was delighted to see an illustrated version of his short story. Theo Ellsworth's visual representation nails VanderMeer's voice.
I love Jeff Vandermeer, and this did not disappoint. It was weird, a bit confusing, and just the right amount of unique. Theo does an incredible job, and the artwork is not something to gawk at. I sped through this thing in an evening, which is not something I normally do when it comes to graphic novels... but I just couldn't put it down.