Daily Graphic Novel Recommendation 164

Canopy

by Karine Bernadou
Genre notes: fable, social issues, a bird with both boobs and a wiener
80 pages
ISBN: 1940398606 (Amazon)

Canopy is pretty rough in the sense that it describes a female experience (not *the* female experience but a common female experience) in stark though oblique terms. One friend who read it was so bowled over that she sobbed in public while reading it. I was not quite an overtly affected but I did want to hold my daughter tight for hours and days and months after, keeping her safe from the potential terrors of life in a world overpopulated by men who would consciously or unconsciously wound her with their needs, desires, and way of being.

Canopy demands an interpretive frame of mind. It's less straight narrative and more parable. It's a series of connected experiences where figures represent experiences or types of men. For the casual reader, understanding may be obfusticated. But as one dwells on the images, they begin to coalesce and one begins to grasp at potential reasons Bernadou may have chosen to depict things in one way rather than another. And like with all parables, they who have ears to hear, let them hear.

The book opens with the infant woman nursing at her mother's breast. Her father sits at their side. Over the course of a couple pages, the infant woman grows to maturity, still nursing as her mother grows older, hair turning to white. The father is present for a couple panels and then only in the family portrait on the wall behind the mother, then absent. When the once-infant woman reaches adulthood, her mother's breasts dry up and she can no longer nurse. Her mother blind folds the woman and leads her out into the magical dangerous forest and leaves her. A man approaches (he is nude, we do not see his face) and leads her further into the forest. By her thoughts, we see she believes this man to be or associates this man with her mother. That's about the first five pages and introduces the idea.

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