Inside the front cover are pen and ink drawings of insects.. The next pages are a monarch butterfly breaking free from its chrysalis, and setting off south on Route 87. The butterflies journey is interspersed by longer sections of the married couple George and Sam(antha). The first scene is sepia toned and Sam is giving birth, but it turns out that she is not having a baby but giving birth to a book. This leads into them setting off on a long stay in Oaxaca. Sam is on sabbatical, George once a fine artist is now working at a museum and is fascinated by insects. They move into a house on the edge of town which comes with a maid, Angelina.
They make friends in Mexico. AL a former war photographer a present-day alcoholic, Al; another George who runs an English language bookshop in town; and Diego Rivera-like artist. The characters lives intertwine. The earth moves: the frequent earthquakes. The town is protesting about the corrupt new governor, Uro, as well as a long running teacher’s strike. The butterfly is getting closer and the history of the area is interspersed into the narrative as Sam writes about it in the book.
This is a gorgeous book, drawn with panache that brings to life the sun-drenched troubled town, the limited couple who slowly find what they need. At the end we sees the forest where the millions of monarchs gather to mate. One of the great books in what is rapidly becoming the most urgent cannon of work, graphic fiction.