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The Nao of Brown by Glyn Dillon

The Nao of Brown (2012)

by Glyn Dillon

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1538110,568 (4)64
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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Another book picked up on impulse from the staff recommends table at the library. The cover was wonderful, the synopsis on the inside was intriguing - it was a fast, easy sell. But then it got put aside, and it wasn't until the day it was due that I got around to reading it. But once I opened it, I couldn't put it down. Into the bath, out of the bath, getting dressed, downstairs to read on the couch (too noisy), back upstairs to read in the bed until I was done. (Thank goodness it was my day off!)

The art was so lovely and expressive. The characters were original and relatable. I wanted to reach in and give them all a big hug. Even when they were at odds - maybe especially when they were at odds. The way Nao's OCD is handled is very interesting. Her violent morbid fantasies are disorienting at first (as I'm sure they're supposed to be), but then they're almost familiar. Most people have these horrible thoughts that pop in unbidden - about suddenly wrenching the wheel and driving off the road... the damage a pair of scissors could do.... don't boil the baby (an inside joke for those familiar with The Poo Bomb.) Most of us recognize the thought as aberrant and not likely to happen and so shake ourselves and move on. Nao gets stuck in them. While this sometimes controls her behavior, she is understandably reluctant to let even those she is very close to in on what's going on inside her mind.

My only criticism is that the resolution seemed to happen a little fast. I would have liked to know a little more detail about how Nao got from point A to Point B, figuratively. But otherwise, this is a wonderful and moving book about the way our brains sometimes sabotage us. And this wonderful bit from the foreword: "The restless mind will make you believe that it is you. That you are it. You are not. ( )
  greeniezona | Dec 6, 2017 |
This was a good book. I love everything that I have read from SelfMadeHero ( )
  Hassanchop | Jul 4, 2016 |
See full review @ The Indigo Quill

I purchased this book at a local library book sale.

At a recent library book sale I was volunteering at, I stumbled across The Nao of Brown. All it took was a glance at the cover art and a flip through its vibrantly illustrated pages, and I knew I had to give it a warm home. And so no one else could give it a warm home, I hid it behind some technical manuals until my shift was over. It wasn’t my proudest moment but I stand by my decision.

Nao has returned to London after losing a job and a relationship. She seeks a new start, but fears that everything will continue in the same downward trajectory she has come to expect. She is reunited with some old friends and makes some new ones as she tries to find purpose and meaning in her life and in life in general. The story is interrupted every now and then by a parallel story in the form of a Japanese parable that provides an interesting break in the art style and provides an extra layer of narrative for the main story to be plucked out of its pages.

The Nao of Brown is a graphic novel that is different from most I’ve seen. There’s no action or gratuitous sex, no monsters or cool gadgets, no superheroes or villains. Usually the only time these elements aren’t present in a graphic novel, the main themes are comedic or cutesy in nature. In fact, up until now, I haven’t paid this medium as much attention as I possibly should have because of it. Thank God every now and then something comes along to challenge my notions.

In The Nao of Brown, Glyn Dillon has created a very character-centered work that focuses on a girl named Nao. Nao is a half Japanese, half English girl, who feels as if she doesn’t fully belong to either culture, or the human race in general, at times. Ever since she was a child, Nao has been plagued by a peculiar form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that causes her to obsessively fixate on violent scenarios in her mind. For example, in one scene she is on an airplane and she thinks about pulling the hatch and depressurizing the cabin. The thought disturbs her so much that she parks herself in the airplane lavatory for the remainder of the flight, trying to force the scenario out of her mind. Her innocence and her shy demeanor are juxtaposed with this horrifying condition, and it only serves to build level upon level of depth to both her character and the story in general.

I was drawn into this story from the beginning. The beautifully gentle themes and subtle but uproariously funny comedy roped me in. As funny as it is at times, this is no comedy. There are some incredibly real themes and situations that are sometimes very dark, always true to form. The story is the perfect snapshot of life for the twenty something year old. From the eternal struggle for identity and truth, to alcoholism and mental illness, romance, inadequacy and growth, Dillon has run the gamut of the human condition in this work.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Nao of Brown from the first frame to the last. I would recommend it for anyone interested in graphic art or anyone with an interest in the human condition. I think anyone in their twenties or thirties would enjoy it from a more personal perspective, but the struggles, truths, and the amazing themes in this story can be useful and enjoyable for anyone at any age (not children, due to some mature themes and swearing). At the very least, there are some truly funny bits and the art is incredibly detailed and emotive.

Absolutely charming from beginning to end. ( )
  TheIndigoQuill | Nov 7, 2015 |
Recensione su: http://wp.me/p3X6aw-s9
Review at: http://wp.me/p3X6aw-s9 ( )
  Saretta.L | Feb 21, 2015 |
It is a beautiful book in which the graphic panels are all obviously carefully wrought works of art. And the talent of the artist is clearly great. I loved looking at it as I read the story.

The story is hanging in my mind and I don't know quite how to describe it. Partly it is a stream of consciousness in a young woman who suffers from some mental obsessions; and who is making her way through life as best she can. I enjoyed reading about her, and sympathized with many of her difficulties, and was happy for her when things went well. Then, there is another sub-plot, with entirely different pictures, and characters, which I did not "get". Flat out, I did not understand it, and I'm still puzzled. I think this book will rattle about in my head for a good while. If I figure out the other story, I'll come back and tell you. ( )
  maggie1944 | Feb 15, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
"Words do not express thoughts very well, everything immediately becomes a little different, a little distorted, a little foolish," quotes one Nao of Brown character from Hermann Hesse, summing up why the graphic novel is the ideal medium for expressing the thoughts of young English-Japanese illustrator Nao Brown. Returning to London after a sojourn with her alcoholic father in Japan, the pathologically introspective Nao is trying to cope with professional and romantic rejection, as well as a form of OCD that manifests itself in murderous fantasies. On a single page, Glyn Dillon can depict the nuances of Nao's enigmatic facial expressions as well as the livid tumult beneath, the triggers of her rages and the storms themselves, and he does so beautifully.
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"Nao Brown suffers from OCD, but not the hand-washing, overly tidy type that people often refer to jokingly. Nao suffers from violent, morbid obsessions, while her compulsions take the form of unseen mental rituals. Working part-time in a 'designer' vinyl toy shop, while struggling to get her own illustration career off the ground, she's still searching for that elusive love--the perfect love. And in meeting the man of her dreams, she realises... dreams can be quite weird"--From publisher description.… (more)

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