Patience by Daniel Clowes

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Patience is a woman’s name and also a virtue–however in Daniel Clowes’ new novel virtue is rare. All the characters are deeply unvirtuous.

It’s the year 2012: Patience and Jack are a couple. She has escaped an abusive small town, and he goes off to work each day–but he has lied about what he does. When he arrive home one day–Patience is dead. Jack is arrested, imprisoned and finally exonerated.

Jack investigates to try to find the real perpetrator.

Now it’s 2029: Jack finds a way to go back in time. He wants to try to put everything right–get to Patience before she dies, and prevent her death.

2006: Methodically, patiently, violently, Jack finds his way into Patience’s life.  He isn’t recognized–she hasn’t met him yet, and anyway he is physically the age he was in 2029. Jack almost disintegrates from the time travel and the emotional stress of trying to protect her in the past.  Clowes’ tag line for the book is: “A cosmic time warp deathtrap of the primordial infinite of everlasting love. For all the violence and abuse, it is a story of a love so deep in can’t be let go.

If you’ve read Wilson, Ghost World or David Boring or any other of Clowes’ novels you’ll recognize his distinctive drawing and unflinching but sensitive storytelling, and you will be as glad you read this book as you were when you read any of the others.

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