If you’re after a gorgeous graphic novel about millennial ennui and unlikely friendships in murky waters, Men I Trust is the book for you. It’s Montreal-based illustrator Tommi Parish’s second book, and the wonderful team at Scribe were kind enough to send me a copy for review.
A heads up if you’re ordering a copy of Men I Trust, sight unseen: it’s big. Like, nearly A3 size. I was flummoxed when I picked mine up from the post office! It’s a brilliant, beautiful book, but where the heck am I going to shelve it? It’s too tall for any of my Billy bookshelves! Ah well, that’s a problem for another day…
Anyway, like I said, Men I Trust is a beautiful book – the illustrations are rendered to perfection in full colour, making it feel more like an art book than a graphic novel. Reviewers who know more about art and graphic novels than I do have sung its praises. Kelsey Oldham at Books+Publishing said: “With the palette of Simon Hanselmann and the emotional heft of Adrian Tomine, Parrish paints a realistic and intimate portrait of queer friendship, the colourful, genderless characters avatars for anyone grappling with how to live a meaningful life under capitalism.”
The story follows Sasha, a directionless and depressed youth dabbling in sex work and desperate for connection, and Eliza, who’s five years sober and struggling to get a poetry career off the ground while caring for her young son. They stumble across and into each other in a search for intimacy and understanding that seems emblematic of These Modern Times(TM).
Men I Trust is a moving and intense story, one that might have you staring off into the distance in a while after you’ve finished. Trigger warnings, if you need them, for addiction, abuse, depression/suicidality, and a reference to violence against dogs on page 5 that made me cover my eyes.