Saturday, January 22, 2011

Read: "Exit Wounds" by Rutu Modan

Read: Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan, 2007, 9781897299067.

A good comic book novel. I think I read a reference to this somewhere. The book cover has an endorsement by Etgar Keret.

Koby is about 30 years old and shares a cab driving business in Tel Aviv with his aunt. One day he gets a ride request from Numi, a soldier. She tells him his father may have died a few weeks ago in a suicide bombing at a bus station and could be the still unclaimed body in the morgue. Koby could care less.

Koby and his father have been estranged for several years and were not getting along well for years before. Koby's father was a louse but no specifically dastardly or despicable acts are detailed. Koby starts to wonder if his father is dead after all and finds out that the young Numi was dating his almost 70 year old father.

Koby and Numi investigate. Koby is suspicious that his father just skipped out on Numi. Koby starts to get attracted to Numi who is awkward and nicknamed Giraffe for her height. Koby and Numi find out the dad had another, older lady as a girlfriend. At one point Koby and Numi start to make out and have sex. Numi says,"Like father like son," as a joke. But, Koby is very upset - as was I, that was gross.

Months later Koby gets a check for the sale of his father's apartment (Koby had been a part owner) showing that the father is alive. Koby tracks down his father and find he is re-married and meets the dad's wife. Koby's dad never shows up at home while Koby is there and Koby heads back to Tel Aviv. Koby goes to see Numi who is mad at him after a fight about the time of the sex disaster. Koby has been emotionally locked up and angry to years and takes a symbolic jump down from a tree to Numi.

1. You never see the father. The only picture of him is about 25 years old, taken at a wedding, with his face quartering away from the camera and partially obscured.
2. There seems to have never been a single big breaking point between father and son. Just a widening gap and anger that finally broke.
3. When Kuby and Numi are traveling and trying to find if his father was the unclaimed body Kuby is adamant in saying, "No!" when people ask if Numi is his girlfriend. He is a bit creeped out by her dating his father.
4. The illustrations are very good. Modan does a very good job in showing body language, attitude and feelings in his work. Modan did not draw in a lot of detail for the characters faces but I saw a lot in what he gives. Numi's posture sitting in the cab while Kuby drives perfectly matches what she is saying and feeling.

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