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Red Winter

Drawn and Quarterly

Feb 26, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

In the middle of a freezing winter during a politically tumultuous late 1970s Sweden, an affair between a married mother and a young political activist of different social ideologies poses a threat to their respective family and friend circles. Anneli Furmark’s poignant graphic novel is less about comparing the varying Swedish Marxist political philosophies of the latter half of the past century (though it does offer intriguing insights into their histories) than it is about exploring the interpersonal dynamics of people affected by them. Simple and dramatic, the tale of Siv and Ulrik is a moving story, gorgeously and colorfully illustrated.

From the acclaimed Swedish cartoonist, Furmark’s graphic novel is compellingly told in chapters, each of which focuses on an individual affected by the affair and the circumstances surrounding it. Whether it’s Siv or Ulrik (the paramours at the center of the narrative), Siv’s children, her husband, or Ulrik’s comrades, the protagonist of each chapter is a fully formed, engrossing character whose lives we, as readers, feel invested in. Siv’s daughter is a bored adolescent whose ennui compels her to search for family secrets, while her brother’s struggle to fit in with peers leads him to maintain a secret of his own. Siv’s husband wrestles with the higher-ups at work, as Siv vacillates between the stability of a husband and children and the possibilities of starting anew with a man over a decade and a half her junior.

In a testament to Furmark’s skill as a cartoonist, awareness of Swedish history is in no way a barrier to entry to Red Winter. Rather, this is a universally human tale, a recognizable struggle between the heart and familial obligations. Red Winter is a surprising bit of warmth on a cold night, a touching tale and one of the most compelling books of the year so far.

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 6,322/10


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May 22nd 2019

Well enough to have good times when you have the master piece like this. At every turn of story it makes you seems like it is based on surrealist and brilliantly comics surprised you at every turn and brings you inborn bliss for the readers