By Katriona Chapman (Avery Hill Publishing)
ISBN: 978-1-910395-38-7 (HB/Digital edition)
Katriona Chapman is a story-maker who has been crafting superb tales in Small Press titles like Tiny Pencil (which she-cofounded), Comic Book Slumber Party, Ink & Paper, Save Our Souls, Deep Space Canine and her own award-winning Katzine. She draws beautifully and knows how to quietly sneak up, grab your undivided attention and never let go – and she hasn’t spent all her life sat at a desk either.
Follow Me In was her first novel-length tale (go look up Breakwater when you’re done here), combining recollections of a particularly troubling time in her life with clearly the most life-affirming and inspirational events one could hope to experience.
At the railway station, a young woman meets up with an old boyfriend. He’s a writer and she draws. It’s been years and they’re still awkward and uncomfortable in each other’s presence. They talk about the time in 2003 when they decided to trek the entire country of Mexico, north to south-east to west. Back then they were looking for themselves. As her mind goes back, she realizes she’s a lot closer to answers than he is…
This hefty yet pocket-sized (165 x 216 mm) hardcover traces that voyage with exquisite detail, relating history, culture, the sights, and most especially the actual, non-screaming headlines and bad-movie images of a young nation with thousands of years of history, architecture and archaeology: a nation that proudly boasts dozens of indigenous cultures living in relative harmony, speaking at least 68 legally recognised languages and constantly being reshaped by political turmoil. Moreover, no traveller should miss this tome – if only for the advice on bugs, minibeasts and illnesses…
Follow Me In is deftly lyrical and enchantingly enticing; a moving and intoxicating graphic assessment of a crucial time in the illustrator’s life, filled with facts, warmth and conflict, offering fascinating data on such varied topic as ‘A Selection of Mexican Foods’, ‘Learning Spanish’, ‘Travel Sketching’, ‘What’s in our Bags?’ and ‘The Conquests’, all equally compelling and useful to know. And through it all, you’ll want to know what happened to our travellers as they transition from kids to grown-ups as much as what they’ll see next in this magnetic story within a story.
Refreshing, redemptive and rewarding, this is a read to chase away all winter blues and existential glums and an experience you must not deprive yourself of.
© Katriona Chapman 2018. All rights reserved.