This might be a weird question to ask: but have you ever been bummed out by the fact that you can only experience one lifetime, one time period, in one body, and in one set of circumstances? Sometimes it just doesn’t feel like enough when the human experience is so vast and varied.
One Soul by Ray Fawkes takes a completely unique perspective by playing out 18 stories simultaneously from birth to death– essentially creating the experience of living multiple lifetimes at once. Each character is born at a different time to different life circumstances. There are babies born in straw huts, icy castles, on foggy mountainsides and in florescent hospital rooms. Their parents are warriors, potters, slaves and can-can dancers. Each character ages at the same time, facing disappoints and struggles that mirror one another. And each character faces death. When they’re gone, their panel is blacked out, but their thoughts continue to emerge in the darkness. As the end of the book nears, survivors are far and few between until finally, you’re left with a 18 empty panels.
I loved the novelty of telling 18 stories instead of one. Each character’s inner dialogue is broiled down to the purest, simplest of thoughts, which are communicated in an almost stream of consciousness style, and thus even if the character’s circumstances are extremely different from your own, their reflections on life are relatable. You can read the book page by page (noticing how each person‘s life events reflect the others‘), or try to follow one character’s story at a time. Or you can flip back and fourth.
I highly recommend this book because of it’s powerful narrative and unique way of telling a story. If you don’t check it out, I can honestly say you’re missing out on something that’s unlike anything you’ve ever read before. It’s undeniably touching and infinitely re-readable. One Soul is a truly one of a kind graphic novel.