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Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow’ is raw and affecting

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Anders Nilsen’s Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow
J. Caleb Mozzocco

That Anders Nilsen’s Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow is so emotionally raw and so terribly affecting isn’t simply a matter of its subject matter: his fiancée’s sudden cancer diagnosis and subsequent death in 2005.

The Details

Don't Go Where I Can't Follow
Four and a half stars
By Anders Nilsen, Drawn and Quarterly $20.

Rather, form has a lot to do with it. A mixed-media memoir containing comics, sketches, photos, postcards, journal entries written at the side of her bed and a long letter, it reads a bit like a carefully curated collection of found objects, taking the basic “words + pictures” formula of comics in a divergent direction while sharing artifacts so personal they can’t help but feel universal.

The theme tying its chapters together is that of the couple’s usually funny misadventures while traveling (her sickness actually doesn’t even come up until the last third of the book). Ultimately, that’s what the book is really about, a journey that doesn’t go as planned. It’s rather devastating, but redeemed by the earlier, happier parts of Nilsen and his fiancée’s interrupted journey together.

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