In. by Will McPhail

Print Length: 272 pages
Format: ebook
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Please take a moment and admire the gorgeous minimal cover. I know, don’t judge a book by its cover, but you can’t deny the effect that a gorgeous front cover can attract you to pick a book! Anyways, now that you are done gawking, I shall move on to tell you why this graphic novel is an interesting and a witty read. Let me explain.

In. is a graphic novel by New Yorker cartoonist, Will McPhail. The artwork stands out primarily as the author has successfully incorporated the millennial generation’s woe in connecting with people deeply, and also describing the protagonist’s experiences of communication blending in the magic realism. 

Nick is a young illustrator (one can take it as a semi-biographical story) who fancies visiting coffeeshops and bars because they seem cool. And I loved how each coffee shop and bar is described in a genius manner. For example – a coffee shop named Selvglad which has a Nordic ambience is described as follows –

Selvglad (The Nordic Concept of Smugness). Not so much a coffee shop as it is a vision of what your life would be if you were happy. Their speciality tea is made of pine needles that have been through the digestive system of a vole that has been through the digestive system of an owl that has been through the digestive system of a beautiful Danish widow. And…

You now get the witty part in these lines. The illustrations are mostly portraited in black and grey, but there are bursts of vivid scenes with gorgeous colours when Nick connects to a person while conversing. He is astounded by the dream (or nightmare) like scenarios that he gets drifted into when he makes a connection with the person on a deeper level. He wants to communicate, however, he hesitates thinking talking might probably be a waste of time for others. He wants to talk to his sister, mother and a girl that he likes. But it is only when he actively takes part in communicating his thoughts rather than just observing as an artist is what makes the story complex yet beautiful at the same time.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this graphic novel. It is minimal in art yet has an impact on creating wonderful scenes that makes you reflect on how we bond with people in such a distraction-filled environment. The story is of Nick – it is simple. But the inner monologues of the illustrator warmly touches you even after you are finished reading.

Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for tho e ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Lately, with the peculiar pandemic situation gripping worldwide and keeping us locked at homes (for the majority that is), it has left me with some time to read and learn. I am catching up on reading graphic novels and comics. Currently, Webtoon is my go-to app for catching up on some amazing illustrations and stories. If you are new to reading graphic novels and comics – please give them a try! I have noted down my top 8 current Webtoon subscriptions which I think you may enjoy, so check them out!

1. The Doctors are Out

2. Magic Soda Pop

3. Punderworld

4. Blood Stain

5. Not Even Bones

6. Circuits and Veins

7. Heartstopper

8. Lilah’s Magic Shop

Thank you so much for reading this post. Cheers!

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Buy your copy here: In. by Will McPhail

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A closet writer with a knack for adding vivid, witty & personal details. I love coffee, books and food. Highly appreciate lo-fi music and illustrations. Borderline obsessed with stationery, productivity and organisation tools. Always in search of adventures & stories by travelling or being buried in books. Current Status ↠ Growing plants in my room. Life Goals ↠ Spark conversations, ideas & inspiration with a cup of mild roasted black coffee.

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