Page 45 Review by Stephen
One bright summer's day a Dad sets off, his small daughter held gently in the crook of one arm. They cross an ornamental stone bridge then turn left down a long, straight parth. A bank of lush, thick foliage rises to their left while to their right an open, grassy field slopes gently upwards as far as the eye can see.
It's going to be good day. It's going to be a great walk.
No. It is going to be absolutely terrifying.
In the ideal order of things, if you're going to have a family, we nurture and protect our children even as we ourselves grow old, then hope to be looked after in turn. But that comes with a certain degree of fear: a fear of failing, a fear of age, a fear of frailty, a fear of death. And they do say that dogs sense fear, don't they?
Family features substantially in Dan Berry's work, even if in THROW AWAY YOUR KEYS he dreams of abandoning it, but it's always for grin-inducingly comedic purposes. CARRY ME's tone could not be more startlingly different.
It's a silent fable so Dan has concentrated on his other strengths: successful sequential storytelling, form, colour and sense of space. 'Algiers' in HEY YOU! was full of white and so full of light. Here the very sky is strangled as anxiety levels explode. The true path becomes obliterated by impenetrable knots of branches barely glimpsed throughly the suffocatingly dark and sickly green leaves. The sense of panic-inducing claustrophia is intense. Yet still they struggle on.
The moment when I first realised the protagonist began aging was electrifying and, yes, there is far more to this journey than I have even begun let on.
Bonus: all of Page 45's copies are signed and sketched in - at this stage, surprising no one! Cheers, Dan!