Sabrina is LA Times Book Prize winner Nick Drnaso's second novel and rendering of a sterile, modern world, where relationships are without intimacy and meaning is lost through glowing computer screens. In this graphic novel, Drnaso confronts and criticizes our modern world and its byproducts (namely fake news).
Drnaso is an ace boundary technician... With his fluid framing — fitting anywhere from two to 24 panels to a page — he dictates information delivery, allowing the mind to breathe. His drawing style is at once poetically attuned to details of neighborhoods and interiors (the lit canopy of a gas station at night, the banquette at an antiseptic diner) and deceptively plain when it comes to the people who inhabit them. Figures are airtight yet textureless, with eyes like pinholes ... Drnaso subtly suggests that the current climate of constant horror, weaponized by hashtags and spread by autofill, has its seeds in the fall of the Twin Towers and our response to the tragedy. It’s a shattering work of art.
Drnaso’s simple, rigid drawings capture the bleak blankness of much contemporary life, anomie hovering over almost every interaction, both real and virtual. His muffled colors build the texture of a world bombarded with distraction yet void of connection, and his careful use of boxes and frames conveys the stunning lack of freedom the supposedly free space of the internet constructs, a dim and inert prison of both the body and the spirit ... Drnaso’s book leaves the audience holding its breath, hoping his flawed but sympathetic characters will find their way from lies to truth.
Nick Drnaso has produced an extraordinary – and extraordinarily upsetting – novel ... Drnaso allows himself to think the unthinkable; one’s worst fears about the disappearance of a loved one are directly addressed and, in most cases, grimly and grittily realised. He at no point lapses into cliche or sensationalism ... rhymes and echoes of action are spaced throughout the story like landmines. No line of dialogue is wasted – Drnaso’s story doesn’t feel “plotted”, but as though it is happening just as one feels life does, even those moments of great emotion, such as a character’s unimaginable anguish and helplessness in the face of uncertainty, or the clinical interest one can take in the prurient details of a reported crime as a distraction from the painful realities of one’s own existence.