Allen & Unwin, $29.99 pb, 188 pp
Painter Dmitri Pangalidis stares out over the baking Sydney rooftops as he waits for his partner, Choosy McBride, to come home from the gallery where she works as a curator. The city is besieged by heat and Pangalidis spends his day lounging on the couch, trying to motivate himself. The first five pages of The Silence contain no dialogue, with Pangalidis wasting yet another day at home, frustrated and filled with doubt about his art. These scenes are interspersed with those of McBride’s arduous return to the apartment across the city. Once the characters do speak, Bruce Mutard’s stark, contemplative meditation on art and beauty sets an unsettling tone that is maintained throughout.
The Silence was written and drawn over a two-year period for American imprint Image Comics, which strangely chose not to publish it. Allen & Unwin accepted the manuscript after critical praise was heaped on Mutard’s previous work, The Sacrifice (2008). That they have supported a writer such as Mutard is creditable.