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Review: The Silence

As the above audio recording will confirm, I was just on RRR’s Aural Text show with the lovely Jeff and Emily, talking over the top of them for nine minutes and change as I waxed lyrical about Bruce Mutard’s most recent graphic novel, The Silence.

The Silence is the story of art gallery manager Choosy McBride and her reaction to an anonymous painting that she regards as one of the finest and most emotionally resonant artworks she has ever seen.

Roping her partner Dmitri, a painter, in on her quest to discover the artist’s identity, she travels to far north Queensland, paying for their trip by combining it with a meeting with Fred McWilliams, a famous but reclusive artist whom Choosy’s gallery represents.

The three protagonists’ quite distinct reactions to the anonymity of the mysterious artist form the crux of this amazing graphic novel, which asks hard questions about the nature and purpose of art and why anyone would choose to become an artist.

You can use the player above listen to me bang on about the above in more detail (apologies for the abrupt ending – I forgot about the delayed transmission thing), and you can check out a preview of the book over on Allen & Unwin’s website.

4 thoughts on “Review: The Silence”

  1. Nice review, Adam, bringing together this dense book.
    Have you read The Bunker? I got a copy of the Image book recently and thought this would have been a much better release in the US.
    I think they’re talking about releasing the next in The Sacrifice series in 2011 so you’re right about the detail slowing the work.

  2. Hey Hack. Yeah I’ve got the bunker – picked it up at Minotaur in Melbourne years ago, and was waiting for The Silence to come out thru Image Comics too, but it never surfaced. When I heard A&U were putting it out I was just pleased to finally be able to get a read of this fascinating-sounding book, and I think it was well worth the wait.

    What did you think of The Sacrifice part one?

  3. THE BUNKER was released in the U.S many years ago by Image, but like most things by those standard comics publishers, it got shelved after the first print run. It’s always about the peak in sales that a new release creates.

    Nice passionate review there Adam. In my opinion, THE SILENCE is Bruce’s best work yet. It’s been the standout read this year for me in the GN arena. Very proud that it’s a local author that has created such a piece of art too. Something that shows how real and high one can aim for in the medium.

    Even though Bruce’s ‘Robert Wells trilogy’ is a denser and bigger work, I still prefer THE SILENCE.



  4. I liked the Sacrifice Part 1 though I can see that it’s complexity freaked a lot of reviewers out. I remember a review that was all about how they felt the drawing was too detailed giving the piece a documentary feel. I can see the point about too much machinery in the way of narrative and character, but the authentic setting is one of the great joys of the book.
    I did a profile of Mutard ( when the book came out so maybe I’m biased.

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