Also by this author
The Black Project

A Thousand Coloured Castles

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Myriam is seeing things, and so can we, but her husband Fred is adamant it's all a lot of nonsense. In A Thousand Coloured Castles Brookes once again twitches the net curtains of the suburban south in this gloriously crayoned follow-up to the prize-winning The Black Project.

Myriam is a woman who sees things a little differently from other people. Strange figures in garish costumes accompany her to the post office, wild exotic plants sprout from supermarket shelves and phantom walls rise up to block her path. Her husband Fred doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Whenever he looks there’s nothing there, and besides it’s no excuse for his breakfast not being ready on time.

But when Myriam sees a young boy shut up in the house next door, who is apparently being held captive, she is determined to investigate, much to her husband’s fury. Soon he brings in reinforcements – their daughter, Clare – who is concerned about her mother’s state of mind, and the state of her inheritance. Myriam’s only ally is her four-year-old grandson, Jack, who is more than happy to see things her way.

A Thousand Coloured Castles is a graphic novel where the sleepy suburbs of southern England melt into a world of hallucination, taking the reader through the doors of perception into a life where the surreal co-exists with the banal. With his customary wit and unique artistic approach, Brookes conjures both sympathy and despair for his characters trapped by the routine of daily life. If only they could just see

Mark Wallinger

A beautiful book… The way the drawings can move and coalesce from the mundane and everyday to the fantastical and unaccountable makes the hallucinatory experiences palpable and disturbing. The parallel unfolding of the genuinely strange and distressing story of the goings-on next door play against the dreary ‘normality’ of Fred and Myriam’s marriage. The resolution of the story is both moving and acute, suggesting that the power and limits of our imagination define the extent of our empathy.

Dylan Horrocks

Gareth Brookes is one of the most surprising comics creators working anywhere in the world. His previous book, The Black Project, was filled with painstaking embroidery; A Thousand Coloured Castles is entirely rendered in shimmering layers of coarse waxy crayon. The effect is astonishing, unsettling and strange - much like the weird, beautiful visions intruding on the central character's view of the world. Brookes' drawings emerge out of the shadows, and part of the trick with this book is working out which shadows are real and which are figments of an old woman's imagination. The book's great and lasting power comes from its recognition that the darkest shadows - and the brightest wonders - can be found in the most ordinary of people. An extraordinary achievement.

Hannah Berry

I really, really love it. Gareth Brookes has an uncanny ability to locate the sinister root of the suburban and the familiar and twang it mercilessly. This brilliant, sharply observed and often hilarious story of Little England through a hallucinatory lens leaps from the page like so many ladder-headed soldiers. If the future of UK comics doesn't go where Brookes is taking it then I'm not interested.

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