Nao of Brown by Glyn Dillon

nao of brownYou can always tell when you’ve really enjoyed a graphic novel when you begin to read and continue without pause – until the end of the story when you look up and feel the need to gaze out a window. That is exactly what happens with Glyn Dillon’s Nao of Brown.

This graphic novel goes beyond its expectations with expressive watercolours quickly absorbing this reader into the psyche of the main character ‘Nao’ – a half Japanese half English artist, struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder and tormenting violent thoughts. We are taken into Nao’s murderous imaginings in which she humorously gives marks out of 10 over the perversity of her mind – 8 out of 10 for snapping a taxi driver’s neck, 9 out of 10 for stabbing her Buddhist teacher with a pen. It is in this particular scene, ironically set in a meditation centre, that we are introduced to one of the main themes of the book, the philosophies of Buddhism. Nao frequents this Buddhist centre to try and calm her anxious thoughts, and to open her heart as she takes part in drawing the “Enso”, the ink drawn circle. This shape symbolises enlightenment and mindfulness, and of being in the moment, which later her boyfriend Gregory – a washing machine repair man compares to the machine and consequently a shape that touches on a  meditation of his own life.

In short, Glyn Dillon has created meandering, tenuous links that chain together an honest, tender and beautifully violent observation of life, slowed in a river of simple plot, panelled in the apt medium of the comic book. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a solid introduction to the modern graphic novel.

The Quote

ensos

– You paint washing machines?

– Oh… They’re not washing machines, they’re…

– Ensos.

– Oh, you know?

The Author

Glyn Dillon was born in 1971, the youngest of a family in which both his father and older brother are artists. Glyn’s wide-ranging career started out in comics but moved on to mainly storyboard and concept design for both film and television. He lives in Northwest London with his wife and two boys.

The Book

The Nao of Brown

Published by SelfMadeHero 2012

Written and illustrated by Glyn Dillon – 208 pp. –  £16.99

——————————– Richard Graham

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