truly a site unseen

Archive for May 2009

Girl, unvisualized

I popped open Sarah Neufeld’s Visibility, and of course had to check out the author; about the only thing I’m sure of is that she is not the Sarah Neufeld who plays violin for Arcade Fire.

The book itself is a charmer, an illustrated novel, not quite a graphic novel but more than just text. (The illustrations are by D. Meister.) Natalie Irving is just turning seventeen, and if she seems like an angsty teenager, well, she has some reason to be: her mother Jadyn — formerly “Janice,” but that name was insufficiently cool — can snap herself into invisibility, a gift she’s used for all manner of self-aggrandizement, and of course to keep her daughter on edge more or less 24/7. Up to now, Jadyn’s power hadn’t been part of Natalie’s own skill set.

What makes Visibility more than your run-of-the-unseen-mill invisibility yarn is that when Natalie vanishes, so does most of her vision, as the laws of physics would seem to demand, and other senses are called upon to fill in the blanks. For instance:

I decide almost immediately that I like the stairs. For one thing, even the scuffing of my ballet slippers against the stone is enough to let me see the next two or three steps. And, even if I couldn’t see, there’s a handrail to follow.

Usually this issue is given a perfunctory handwave and ignored.

The novel is $15 from Bowler Hat Comics; an e-book version is available. It’s a seriously good read, and the illustrations are apt.


The Invisible Woman Runs for President

A poem by Karen A. Romanko, which appeared shortly after the 2008 election. Very wry and satirical — and appropriately so, I’d say.

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