A Day in the Life of Alfred by Oivind Hovland

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A Day in the Life of Alfred by Oivind Hovland

Category: Graphic Novels
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: What's black, white and red all over? This little book should be.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 56 Date: February 2009
Publisher: Tabella Publishing LLP
ISBN: 978-0955808852

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Witness Alfred, getting up, getting ready for work, finding himself low on toothpaste again, going to work, working, coming back from work and falling asleep at home. Is it Alfred's fault, or the world's, that in all that routine, it appears nobody ever talks to him?

This is a very gentle story of urban isolation, told in a couple dozen pictures and a couple hundred words. The words as such are excellent – as few as there are they can easily change in tone, and create a fine poetic gloss over the story of alienation. They have been very well chosen.

As have the images. We get medium close-ups of Alfred in his home, which almost look like woodcuts, long-focus cityscapes as he nears his work, and even humorous aerial schematics of his commute. All are finely judged, and might look a little rough and ready, but form the mood of the book superbly, and all help us get under the skin of the basically featureless but characterful Alfred. The colour combination – black, white and red only, is judiciously used, and is artistically withdrawn for the conclusion.

This is a slender but strong work, and I found the whole thing astute. The tragicomic story was well worth an instant second perusal. We'll call it a graphic novel for want of a better term, but on the whole this shows the power to be had in just a few large, full-panel images, and the sparse captions facing them.

Putting my ear to the metaphorical ground of the internet, I have heard other people judge the collector's editions of Mr Hovland to be sound investments. I cannot disagree.

We must thank the publishers for our review copy.

More initially simplistic-looking adult graphic fiction can be found in Pentti and Deathgirl by Emma Rendel.

Buy A Day in the Life of Alfred by Oivind Hovland at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Day in the Life of Alfred by Oivind Hovland at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy A Day in the Life of Alfred by Oivind Hovland at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Day in the Life of Alfred by Oivind Hovland at Amazon.com.


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