When his mother takes ill, Eustace escapes the solitude of his room in a way that one would not normally consider. His elusive Uncle Lucifer miraculously appears from underneath his bed, bringing with him an array of eclectic characters; a French maid, a shadow journalist, a soldier and many others that catapult the sickly child into the centre of a debauched cocktail party.‘Eustace’ is a fragile eight year old boy whose ‘kidneys aren’t up to much’ and his Auntie’s are pretty sure he ‘won’t make old bones’.
Steven Harris’s writing contains the tone and character of aristocratic Britain during the 1940’s. The delicate and scratchy line drawings share the morbid ambience of the plot and take the reader through the child’s made-up thoughts neatly.
Yet in Eustace’s’ surreal world, we are led by his waning sanity as if following the pied piper – for it is not Eustace’s story but his Uncle Lucifer’s twist! I would liken this clever and subversive tale to lie somewhere in between Maurice Sendak’s wild dreams and Edward Gorey’s melancholy tales.
A fantastic debut graphic novel, one not to be missed!
“Now then young fellow, what would you like to be when you grow up?”
“Oh, I dont think I’m going to make old bones, Uncle Athol”
Old Bones! where does he get it?”
WAH HAH HAH!
Steven Harris is a British cartoonist and writer, based in London. He has illustrated a range of books for the Nightingale Press’s Modern Anthropology range of humorous Modern Guides, including Hats (which he also authored), Drink, and Spectacles. He is also the author of the long-running web comics Paper Cuts and Eustace, both published on H2G2 under the pseudonym spimcoot. Eustace is his first full-length graphic novel.
Published by Jonathan Cape, 2013
Written and illustrated by Steven Harris, £14.99
—————————– Richard Graham