Seeds is a short, single sitting sort of a graphic novel. But what it lacks in length, it more than makes up for in emotion and depth.
The book is an account of the death of the author’s father, who passed away from cancer, aged 72. Ross Mackintosh recreates the pain and uncertainty of losing an ageing parent, from first hearing about the illness through to his feelings after the funeral. He draws a portrait of his father that is heart-aching, bold, touching and profound. And he finds a well of feeling for his Dad that he didn’t really realise he had.
To a certain extent he sees fortune in his family’s difficult circumstances – the relatively short time between diagnosis and death mean that the intense pressure of the inevitable isn’t protracted. And despite not coming from a religious family, he finds solace in the living memory of his father. Despite all this, the emotional journey remains tortured and difficult.
Mackintosh is a father himself, and the death of his Dad brings forth a deeper understanding of family and the cycle of life. He communicates this exceedingly well – the message is loud and clear, though delivered with gentility and subtlety.
This book can’t fail to touch you emotionally. It’s a beautiful piece of work, sparingly drawn and written, but with an economy of style that’s perfectly pitched to the subject matter. It doesn’t need to say any more, it’s all here: life, death and everything in between, celebrated in 80 deceptively simple pages.
Nothing’s going to prepare anyone for the death of their parents. But by sharing his experience with us, Mackintosh has captured a fragment of the human condition. The result is a small but brightly shining jewel of a comic, which can’t fail to pluck the heart strings of anyone who comes across it.
Seeds is due to be published in April 2011.