by Nick Drnaso. Drawn & Quarterly, May 2018. 204 p. ill. ISBN 9781770463165 (hardcover), $27.95.

Reviewed June 2019
Rebecca Bruner, Smithsonian Libraries- Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, rebeccabruner@hotmail.com

Cover of Sabrina

Sabrina, created by Chicago-based artist Nick Drnaso, is a foreboding story about a young man shattered by the sudden disappearance of his girlfriend, and the friend who gives him refuge during the aftermath. Fringe conspiracy theorists and emboldened misanthropes, unleashed by the internet, anonymously lash out at the victims, callously inflicting further suffering.

The graphic novel, Drnaso’s second, has received critical acclaim since its publication, most notably being longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize for Fiction (the first comic considered for the literary award). It’s easy to see why— Drnaso is adept at subtle nuances. His deliberate pacing, minimalist drawing style and muted palette create an ambiance of apprehension that reflects the quiet desperation of unremarkable people unwittingly entangled in tragic circumstances. The stark imagery creates a disquieting effect that magnifies the reckless cruelty of the external world, viewed through the lens of disconnection and loss. A thoroughly American nightmare, Sabrina is a powerful commentary on life in the post-truth era. Highly recommended for any library collection featuring alternative graphic novels, young adult (YA) and adult fiction, and major literary award winning books and authors.