By Hervé Bouchard and Janice Nadeau
Published by Groundwood Books
Copyright © 2011
Harvey is a young Québécois Canadian. His brother, Cantin, is younger than him. The universe has played a cruel joke on Harvey because his younger brother is bigger than he is, and he has to get the hand me downs from Cantin rather than the other way around.
Harvey feels like the character Scott Carey from the 1957 film “The Incredible Shrinking Man” which he stayed up late one night to watch. Not only is he small but he feels different. When his father, whom he seems to love more than his mother, suddenly dies, Harvey’s size seems to be even more of a cruelty.
Reading this Graphic novel is like watching a Foreign Film. It is seems quite muted and introspective considering that it tackles the subject of death. The artwork gives off the same muted vibe. It is some of the gloomiest, almost ugly, illustration that I’ve seen, and yet somehow it works. The illustrations very much fit the gloomy 1950’s pensive feel of the story. One thing in particular that I appreciated was the way the illustrator used successive pictures of the same scene to display grief and loneliness.
“Harvey” is a winner of Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award. While I enjoyed this graphic novel very much its art school/foreign film feel will really limit the audience that will enjoy it. “Harvey” is suitable for children 12 and up, but it is not for the Superhero Comic set, but rather for those looking for the expression of meaning in artistic literature.