fear of death, fear of love

Keeping Two

by Jordan Crane

Translated from English (United States) by Fanny Soubiran

Here and There / The Employee of Me (co-edition), 320 p., €24

Stuck in traffic, Will and Connie argue, without gravity. Back home, Will learns two bad news: his mother’s dog is dead and a friend has just lost his little brother. ” Never two without three “, he worries in a fit of superstition. Connie reassures him, then goes out to do some shopping. But when she doesn’t come back, Will, obsessed with this series law, begins to imagine the worst…

For his fourth graphic novel, the American Jordan Crane takes a very circuitous path, the meanders of an anguished mind, to talk about love. A maze of dark thoughts that illustrates an idea, almost a thesis of the author: it is by the extent of the lack, which we would feel when it disappears, that we measure the attachment that binds us to the loved one.

Far from creating monotony, the audacious choice of green monochromy serves the purpose wonderfully with its ambivalences. Color of hope when it turns bright, its paler hues underline the gloomyness of Will’s ramblings on what horrible could have happened to his companion.

From the shadow to the light

As for the cutting, a “waffle iron” of six squares of an implacable regularity, from which the author frees himself only at the end of the album, it allows to intensely feel these minutes which, in the moments of anxious waiting, flow too slowly. Because the action only takes place over three hours during which, in an attempt to ward off his anxiety, Will takes care of himself as best he can. He does the dishes, smokes a cigarette, has a drink, reads a few pages of a novel… This one, to make matters worse, tells the sad daily life of a couple shattered by the tragedy of a stillborn child.

This secondary story, told in multiple and sometimes long digressions which make the reading demanding, is for Jordan Crane another way of evoking the same subject. Like the death of Will’s mother’s dog, or that of his friend’s brother. Each time, a daily life haunted by the specter of a loved one who has disappeared. When the disappearance is very real, despair prevails. When it is only the fruit of an overly galloping imagination, the simple return to reality becomes a moment of grace, suspended, during which we measure a happiness, a chance, but also their fragility. At the cost of a final brutal twist, the story of Jordan Crane goes from shadow to light, in an evocation that can only touch.

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