David Heatley - My Brain is Hanging Upside Down (4 stars)

David Heatley - My Brain is Hanging Upside Down

(Johnathan Cape)


Its not unusual for an artist to use their life as source material, David Heatley has taken this autobiographical conceit to an altogether more meticulous end: he has taken entire hunks of his life and reproduce them in their entirety, graphically.

Depicting a complete history of every notable sexual encounter he has ever had – from first prepubescent stirrings through saucy dreams and teen crushes to his current wife – is an exercise in extremes that borders on the bewildering. This is consolidated when he moves onto detail every black person he has ever had contact with in his life, every dream he has ever remembered and topped off with intimate character sketches of his parents.

Heatley’s book is an admirable feat, but the sheer weight of detail destroys any possibility of a real narrative. The art is primitive, but addictive, like witnessing OCD, in graphic novel form.

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