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Metronome

by Veronique Tanaka

Publisher: NBM

Format: Hardcover, black and white, $13.95

ISBN: 978-1-56163-526-9

Reviewed by: Publishers Weekly

This wordless story of a love affair is touching and artful yet still offers a good, old-school jerk of a boyfriend for the reader to get angry about. It starts with a soulful composer sitting in his apartment, his only company a metronome and the photograph of a woman. The story is told through repeated images: the metronome, a lava lamp. The changes in our understanding of the story—realizing the man was cruel, realizing the woman wasn't—come about in conjunction with images that, illusionlike, switch from one thing to another: a picture of a tree with birds that is also an image of a woman's vagina; a tender image of two children that, seen from afar, is actually a skull. The stylization of the art becomes part of the alienation that grows between the woman and the man; it's as if anything warm or organic has leached away, leaving a strong chill that readers can feel. The way in which the two misunderstand each other feels a bit too much like a French movie in places, with "art" pushing out squishy things like love and character, but the story is effective, and the way the images build in sequence is stunning.