Published by Allen & Unwin, 2009.
A number of my comics confraternity consider this to be my best work, and I'm inclined to agree. It's certainly among my purest comics (some short stories may be more so), wherein the pictures do most of the work in communicating the story. I call it my Antonioni, meaning my mise en panel comes closest to the mise en scène of the great auteur, Michelangelo Antonioni, whose work I revere.
This novel is a mystery about Art (with the capital), asking the question why humanity has such a profound need to make art, to create and share stories through the nine mediums? I don't profess to have the answer, but I have an answer that I convey through this book in the form of a visual metaphor. It is encapsulated by the now infamous (if not infuriating) ending, which actually has all you need to solve the mystery, but I have no Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple there to explain everything that you have just read. The clue is to read the pictures.
On the way, there is an aside about the modern wrestle between art and commerce; does the latter preclude authenticity in the former? Does money rob art of meaning, or is it essential in abetting art? Has the fine (or high) art industry turned art into an elitist realm of very pricey, abstract, deliberately obscurantist and vapid objects, installations and performances that its supporters pretend to understand in order to feel superior, or that art really does push humanity to examine the outer edges of knowledge and reason?
But the 'silence' in the book is not just the silence on this meaning, but also other silences, such as when a relationship goes sour and two people no longer communicate what they are truly feeling, thus, erode it from within.
So, it's a love story.
I love art and this my love letter to it.