February 2020, Fiction, Graphic Novel

The House by Paco Roca

The House by Paco Roca. November 5, 2019. Fantagraphics Books, 127 p. ISBN: 9781683962632.  Int Lvl: AD; Rdg Lvl: AD.

In this graphic novel by the internationally acclaimed, award-winning Wrinkles cartoonist, three adult siblings relive old conflicts as they clear out the family vacation home after their father’s death.

The graphic novel The House is at once deeply personal (dedicated to Roca’s own deceased father) and entirely universal. Three adult siblings return to their family’s vacation home a year after their father’s death. They each bring their respective wives, husbands, and children with the intention to clean up the residence and put it on the market. But, as garbage is hauled off and dust is wiped away, decades-old resentments quickly fill the vacant home. Roca asks what happens to brothers and sisters when the only person holding the family together is now gone. Full-color illustrations throughout

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild language

 

Reviews

Booklist (January 1, 2020 (Online))
Award-winning Spanish comic book creator Roca draws the story of three adult siblings reuniting following their father’s death. Coming together at their childhood country home, they find much of the house unkempt and in need of repair as they reminisce about their father’s DIY-style. The upkeep of the premises has always been demanding, and now the distractions of work and new families regularly keep them away. However, the idea of selling the home threatens to erase part of their father’s legacy and they struggle with the decision. The full-color drawings are professional and conscientious, but the storyline fails to achieve any major climactic action. Between flashbacks and visits from a elderly neighbor, the reader gets a sense of authenticity from the narrative, yet few lessons are learned aside from the fact that death is difficult in the best of circumstances. Though the audience for this title will likely be small, the work’s sincerity and artful drawings should have special appeal for adult readers mourning their parents. A simultaneously released Spanish-language version is also available.

Library Journal (December 1, 2019)
Following the death of their father, a trio of siblings converges upon their family’s decaying vacation house in order to prepare it for sale. As they clear the yard, restore crumbling walls, and repair leaky pipes, José ponders whether their father was proud of his professional accomplishments, Carla laments that he died before getting to spend much time with her daughter, and oldest son Vicente struggles with whether he made the right choice when he decided not to have him resuscitated on his deathbed. A mildewed swimming pool, a hastily assembled pergola, and orange and almond trees all serve as triggers for memories of the energetic, inventive man their father was in his youth and the depressive loner he became in his declining years, leading the siblings to wonder if selling the property will sever their connection to their father, and one another, forever. VERDICT Celebrated Spanish creator Roca’s (Twist of Fate) cartoonishly drawn characters are juxtaposed against highly detailed backgrounds, showcasing the strange dislocation they feel inhabiting a space that ought to feel much more like home in this melancholy and deeply sympathetic meditation on sibling dynamics and the role memory plays in the grieving process

About the Author

Paco Roca (Francisco Martínez Roca) is a graphic artist and a cartoonist from Valencia, Spain, who has won several art/writing awards. His graphic novel Wrinkles has been adapted into an animated movie.

His website is www.pacoroca.com.

Around the Web

The House on Amazon

The House on Barnes and Noble

The House on Goodreads

The House on LibraryThing

The House Publisher Page