The Great Beyond
by Léa Murawiec
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Pub Date 10 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 17 Oct 2023
Drawn & Quarterly, Drawn and Quarterly
How would you live with nothing but your name?
Manel Naher wants out. In a world where your name is currency, it’s tough to make ends meet. It’s even tougher when you share a name with a rising pop star. The city is unbearable—endless high-rises, social climbers left and right, and nothing but names as far as the eye can see. But Manel is looking a little bit farther, just beyond the horizon, and she’s even convinced her buddy Ali of how much more could be lying in wait right outside city limits.
When a sudden heart attack induced by diminished name recognition foils Manel’s plans, gradual change becomes a catalyst for a complete lifestyle overhaul. This stylish, absurd comedy of contemporary manners skewers the human condition in persistent self-promo. Sharp, architectural lines are accented by decisively mellow hues, building a humorously grim world unexpectedly bathed in nothing but light.
An exciting debut from a fresh perspective, The Great Beyond showcases newcomer Léa Murawiec’s command of comics language and satirizes a sprawling metropolis, its politics, and its extraordinary inhabitants.
Translated by Aleshia Jensen.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 1 member
(I received this book from the editor and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)
This is one of the most original and stunning titles I have read this year; no doubt. Léa Murawiec creates a completely new world, with its unique style and set of rules, and immerses the reader in the very first pages.
In this world, presence is all that matters. The streets are full of names, our main characters job is to read names and think about them. Being forgotten means death. And Manel Naher, who shares the name with a famous pop star, wants out. She wants/needs to reach the great beyond. However, once she realizes her life may very literally be on the line, she lets the vortex devour her and starts playing by the rules.
I loved the story, the characters, and the fast pace in which it advances. It rarely stops, and when it does everything stays still… for less than a couple of pages.
The style is tremendously unique, hyper, caricatured to the extreme. The names in the background, always present, hide more than one easter egg. The ridiculousness of it all, the search for immortality, the herd like attitude of the masses, it’s all mesmerizing.
I would absolutely recommend the Great Beyond to anyone looking for a dystopian story, although, I must warn you, one finished it does not sound so farfetched at all. And that’s the scariest part.