(5 / 5) – It Completes Me!
I adore a graphic novel and to have one that is so artistically epic that also provides deepening knowledge into American history that is often overlooked was an absolute joy.
I took a weekend to read a few different graphic novels that my brother and sister-in-law had lent me and “Days of Sand” by Aimee de Jongh was in the stack and it made an impression. It is the story of a young man hired by the government to document, through photography, the Dust Bowl between 1930-1940. The art tells a story all its own. There is a wide range of landscapes and backdrops for the story and as the reader you feel the expanse as well as the claustrophobia of these contexts along with the characters. Like any good graphic novel the art tells its own story, but there is a poignancy to these images that reflect a lived experience and some that echo actual images of the Dust Bowl.
Alongside the incredible art, de Jongh highlights many of the complicated and morally ambiguous actions of those documenting the lives and loss of families during the Dust Bowl. Witnessing such poverty and death reformed the document or and the document or no matter how they may have tried, affected and changed the lives of those they documented in positive and negative ways. Aimee de Jongh explores all of this through the novel and perhaps what I loved most about this telling is that she doesn’t provide an answer to the ethical wrestling, but leaves the reader living in the ambiguity, which is exactly where we all live anyway.
A fantastic graphic novel to read for anyone who loves history, stories about the strength of the human spirit, or reforming narratives.