Written by Frederik Peeters
Illustrated by Frederik Peeters
Translated by Edward Gauvin
Self Made Hero
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Cover Price: $19.95
Pachyderme opens with Carice, a 1950s bourgeois housewife stuck in traffic while on her way to visit her hospitalized husband. When she realizes there was an accident ahead caused by an injured elephant in the middle of the road, she decides to cut across the woods to reach the hospital on foot. and with that, Carice begins a lucid dream, a waking journey filled with alien babies, hogs, Swiss spies, and buried passions.
Pachyderme is a piece of comic literature. Frederik Peeters, who both wrote and illustrated the book, has created a multi-layered narrative. Our protagonist Carice begins this very surreal journey unaware of who she really is. She thinks she knows who she is. She thinks she knows what she wants. But she has buried her true passions, her true callings, amidst the passions of others. She has become what others want her to be.
This is book that begs multiple read-throughs. This is a piece of literature that needs to be discussed among friends. Peeters’ script and artwork communicates a dream-like state that simultaneously doesn’t and does make perfect sense. He has captured a dream in the form of a comic.
It would be risky for me to comment on the work beyond this point. The surreal (and real) 1950s atmosphere works best when it creeps up on the reader, and jumps from around the corner of the odd-hospital Carice wanders.
Readers who enjoy both literature and comics in the spirit of City of Glass and Ghost World will find much to enjoy in Pachyderme.