7x9.5 inches, 184 pages, black and white, hardcover, $20
Introduction by Christian Gasser
To debut our new Conundrum International Imprint we have chosen the stories of Chihoi, a young Hong Kong artist, who has had books published in Chinese, Italian and French. The Library is the first English edition of his work.
Reading the short stories included in this volume is like reading someone else’s dreams. “The Library” or “Father” reminds one of Kafka; “I’m with my Saint” feels Gauginesque. All the stories feel like smudged emotions, they speak to regular hurt and deprivation, strength in silence and loneliness in numbers. Questions are asked without question marks and are left unanswered even as the stories end. The Library is book of beautiful pencil lines, written to illustrate the tales we know in our heart but have never witnessed.
Chihoi is a poet of the quotidian, of life’s minutia, of little gestures, of silences. He is also the poet of the invisible, invoking the spirit of a dead person or a lost love, and rendering him/her real. He offers us his stories with a little melancholy at the corner of his smile and he illuminates them with a warm spark. He imbues them with a rhythm, like a conversation, by the pauses. His stories are more complicated than they appear, they are open and complex and full of little contradictions and they resonate long after we turn the last page. They are like the calm after a storm, when the wind finally dies down and the landscape is revealed anew.
“Chihoi’s stories, halfway between poetry and visions, also reveal meaningful discoveries and release from grief. The gauzy and beautifully strange pencil art invites long-lingering attention. This attractive and powerfully complex group of stories is a worthy addition to any graphic novel collection.” — Booklist
“As likely to capture the mundane melancholy of an empty apartment as send his characters off into a fable, Chihoi uses a sparse and unfinished style, full of not-quite-erased first drafts and smudges, to suggest how much of the world it’s impossible for us to know, and how we must move through it anyway.” — National Post
All images © Chihoi