Crazy in love | The Tyee
Love destroys everything. That’s the truism at the heart of Anneli Furmark’s new graphic novel Walk me to the corner, translated by Hanna Strömberg. Furmark is a painter, illustrator and comic artist living in the northern region of Sweden. Her graphic novel, published by Montreal’s Drawn & Quarterly, was released this week.
Elise is a Swedish woman in her fifties, happily married to her partner Henrik. Having raised their two sons, the couple are settled into domestic tranquility: swimming in their summer cabin, watching movies, cooking dinner and enjoying the crumpled comforts that come with a long-term relationship.
On the surface, everything seems placid, calm and poised. Until the evening when Elise meets a woman named Dagmar at a party. A spark of attraction ignites and turns into a bonfire that burns for life.
The destructive power of passion to upend the apple cart is just one aspect of Furmark’s nuanced take on life, age and mad love.
Even as she’s busy blowing up her tidy existence, Elise is perpetually surprised that at this late stage in her life, the uncertainty, embarrassment and pain of infatuation hasn’t changed. one iota. She’s reduced to teenage anxieties, soaring high one moment, crashing hard to Earth the next.
As a colleague dryly notes when Elise confesses to being caught between two lovers, “You know you could lose them both.” But passion, obliterating like a tidal wave, prevails, and there is no return to the safety and solidity of the shore.
There are additional complications – Dagmar is also already married to another woman and has two young daughters. Even though Dagmar categorically refuses to leave her marriage and her family, she still wants to continue with Elise. When Elise tells Henrik about her feelings for another woman, he is initially supportive, but the tension proves too much. When Henrik also becomes involved with another (much younger) partner, the pain of the end of his marriage takes Elise by surprise.
The universality of loss, lust and life is portrayed with gentleness and grace in Furmark’s watercolor illustrations that pack the good, the bad and the sometimes quite exciting reality into flowing lines and blocks of bright and saturated colors. Among the emotional Sturm and Drang There are a lot of little moments – dinner with friends, counseling sessions and long dark nights of the soul when Elise thinks about her future.
Even though Elise and Dagmar drive each other a little crazy, can’t stay together, and can’t stay apart, the relationship causes permanent and unsolvable changes for the people around them – family, friends, and co-workers. That the couple sometimes behave like big assholes is also part of the experience. Readers may roll their eyes, wince, or groan in frustration, mostly at the recognition. We’ve all been there, at some point in our lives, making terrible decisions out of passion.
Sometimes the best advice comes from the least likely source. After a conversation with her adult son Felix, who offers calm and wise advice, a fragile life raft in a sea of emotions, Elise seems to be heading towards a kind of balance. Or at least that seems to be the case.
In the end, is the carnival ride of love, even if it upsets and makes the loop-de-loop, worth it? It depends on your constitution and how well you can handle being thrown out of the normal patterns of life, suspended in the air, flying or falling. Both are possible.