I am trying to read as many First Second books as humanly possible. I have the good fortune to have a library that has older titles and has a good network for inter-library loan. But Genius was sitting there in the adult graphic novel section on what they call the Literature shelf. And that fits Steven T. Seagle’s novel perfectly.
When I think of “literature” I think of things lofty, mature, adult, even possibly a bit pretentious. I do not always appreciate that kind of reading, as it can talk down to you. And while Seagle has created something that is lofty and mature, it is not pretentious. That does not mean, however, that I completely appreciated it or understood everything.
This is a cerebral story of a man’s life. The narrator is a man looking back when he was a child. The smartest kid in his class, how he was moved far above his social understanding. He then flashes forward to now where he is a husband, father and works as part of a think-tank where publish or get fired is the word of the day. And he has not found a new idea to save his life. Or his job. Which means he will lose his insurance. Which means he will have no insurance to pay for his wife’s medical bills. It is in the form of his father-in-law (a man at the end of his life, deep into dementia, will do anything to hurt his son-in-law emotionally; but something also makes me think he was never a good man to start with) that his possible salvation will come in the form of a secret that his idol, Einstein, told the father-in-law.
I was looking for a word to describe the artwork of Teddy Kristiansen. It was not until I found another review on GoodReads that I knew what I was looking for. Melancholia. The whole book is depressing, dark and the character himself is in a deep depression. The art reflects that perfectly. The lack of colors in places, the definition or lack thereof of the characters, the chaos of the ideas of the universe, everything shows the misery of this man and his family who are loving for the most part, but human, nonetheless.
Unfortunately, I am still not sure a hundred percent sure what the story is about. I get the surface, even part of why he does what he does at the end, but there is something even deeper to it all. But I’m glad I read it, not to just to work on the goal, but to experience something I wouldn’t normally read.