Graphic Novel: When David Lost His Voice by Judith Vanistendael

When David Lost His Voice by Judith Vanistendael

I started getting into Graphic Novels about three  years ago, and since then have hovered up a fair few, but not enough. This one was in the General Fiction section of the library and was picked to make up the four that I had to take out. (It’s an OCD thing. I like to take out an equal numbers of books. Or it could just be greed, I’m not sure. Nah. I’m pretty sure it’s the OCD.) When David Lost His Voice is by a Flemish author and was first published in England in 2012.

David owns a travel book shop and has just become a Granddad. He has also just discovered that he has cancer, and it’s inoperable. This is the story of his family coming to terms with their loss. There isn’t many words but there doesn’t need to be. I loved the little details, the sling the new mother uses for her baby, her loose trousers, the way she positions herself on the sofa. I love the simplicity of the images, the vivid colours, the ‘just there’ colours, the inky splotches and quick lines. This story depicts one life ebbing away, and others just beginning. There are moments where David has hope to sail off the course of his usual route, and onwards to Norway or Finland, though he knows it’ll never happen, and this realisation is choking. We see the new granddaughter close to the end of the book, toddling around her Granddad’s hospital room, and you can’t help but smile. But just a few pages before, David has to have his larynx removed…and the images are harrowing and unforgettable. It’s different. It’s unusual. It’s honest. I don’t want to say too much. Just pick it up.