Gast

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NUMBER OF PAGES

176

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED

August 2014

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“Carol Swain has one of the most unique and compelling styles in comics.” – TIME

GAST /gaest/ (Welsh.) n, f Bitch. Female dog.st /gaest/ (Welsh.) n, f Bitch. Female dog.

Helen is a city child, new to rural Wales. Her neighbor has told her of a “rare bird” – Emrys – that has committed suicide. Helen may not know much about nature, but she knows birds don’t kill themselves.

In a skip near Emrys’s farm, Helen discovers a cosmetic bag and a spent shotgun shell. Determined to find out more about Emrys and the cause of his death, she questions those closest to him. The few people he knew are able to shed little light on the matter, so Helen speaks to Emrys’s animals. Unlike the humans, the animals have lots to say. “He had no feathers and he couldn’t fly,” his sheep dogs tell her, as Helen begins to uncover not just the mystery of Emrys’s death, but his life.

In
Gast, Helen’s inner life is slowly revealed through a mixture of naturalistic detail and phantasmagorical occurrences. Small observations, moments of ruminative solitude, and searching conversations—among Helen and her parents, and especially the animals she speaks to—propel the narrative toward a deeply satisfying conclusion that is as much a beginning as an end.

Carol Swain’s
Gast is a philosophically mature vision, uniquely executed by an artist wholly in control of her craft, and surely the artist’s most accomplished graphic novel to date.

“Dark and full of life, like soil... [Swain’s comics are] a perfect example of what modern comics are capable of if only they try.” – Alan Moore


“The Raymond Carver of British comics.” –
Time Out

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REVIEWS

Publishers Weekly

•Publishing trade magazine

“Carol Swain trained as a painter, and her comics are distinguished by an accomplished, atmospheric tonal style that delicately shades her carefully observed, heavily stylized characters and landscapes. Her panels feature striking compositions within a strict grid that enables startling transitions, keeping the reader off balance.”

The Guardian

•UK national newspaper

“Swain’s charcoal artwork is perfect . . .” – Roger Sabin

TIME magazine

•News and entertainment magazine

“Carol Swain has one of the most unique and compelling styles in comics.”