the park bench
Chabouté has been around for some time, but he is new to me. I've really grown to love graphic memoirs and novels, so when Gallery 13 offered Park Bench for early review, it was happy to accept.
Chabouté is French, though even if this narrative had any French in it, it wouldn't be a barrier. It's the profile of a lone park bench, literally and figuratively, and the entire timeline is told through images. Through their relationship with the bench, we follow the lives of several people, some briefly, some over the course of years.
It's a given that when the elderly couple who bring sweet treats to share on the bench first show up, that the trauma of one of them not being there at some point is looming, but the way that Chabouté eventually executes this is distinctive and more emotional that expected (particularly because you can see it coming).
I loved how some of the bench's visitors were sometimes inferred not by their presence on the page, but rather by their affect on the bench during their absence. There's humor as well as melancholy; the poor woman in the fifth image above is confused and bewildered every time she visits the bench.
Lovely, with gorgeous illustrations and perfect for kicking off autumn.
Park Bench will be released this Tuesday, September 19th. Please be aware that because my copy was an advanced reader's copy, there's always the possibility that the images I've provided above could change. It's difficult to provide an early review for a book that is purely illustrations without illustrations, particularly when they're so fantastic.