This is How I Disappear
Mirion Malle, 208 pgs, Drawn & Quarterly, drawnandquarterly.com, $29.95
I only cried a little, I swear. This is How I Disappear is a graphic novel set in Québec featuring Clara, a young woman struggling with her mental and emotional health while navigating the demands of capitalism and modern life. Clara pushes her own problems aside to support those around her, and in turn falls apart when her own life becomes too much to bear on her own.
Working with a diverse cast of queer and relatable characters, Mirion Malle delves into their struggles through casual conversations, revealing their personalities naturally. With so many characters changing between scenes, the less memorable personalities blur together, which may cause readers some confusion.
This is How I Disappear highlights problems behind mental health and trauma that are often overlooked, including imposter syndrome and difficulties around finding professional help. Malle also touches on more complicated experiences like, the different ways in which people react to their loved ones telling them they are suicidal, and how loved ones supporting those with mental health struggles can become hostile when confronted with symptoms they cannot relate to.
Malle writes realistic conversations and shapes her characters through stunning dialogue. “I miss having a broken heart. I miss feeling sad,” Clara says, revealing not only her struggle writing poetry, but also how people often find comfort in pain and sadness when they become overly familiar with negative emotions. Malle tells a story through her art and writing, but also through what she omits. The most captivating scenes are the ones lacking dialogue, where the characters’ actions speak loudest. With her unique style of heavy contrasts and linework, she captures the despair of falling apart when alone with your own thoughts.
This is How I Disappear is a relatable story that can be read by anyone, and in all honesty, might be the best story I’ve read all year.