Everywhere Antennas by Julie Delporte
Translated from the French by Helge Dascher
Published by Drawn & Quarterly, 2014
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
This unique graphic novel follows a young woman suffering from a rare hypersensitivity to electromagnetic radiation – generated by power lines, phones, the internet, and suchlike. Plagued by illness and frustrated by a lack of understanding and belief in her condition, she feels increasingly compelled to seek out ever-rarer “white zones” (remote areas undisturbed by radio waves). But in a society typified by a need for constant connectivity, this isolation will inevitably impact her relationships and career.
In terms of the prose and visuals, the book reads very much like a diary. The loose, fragmented style is sparse on detail and structure, with large jumps of time between certain entries, but it feels raw and unguarded in its expression. This informal, choppy, yet vibrant approach says a lot about our narrator’s mindset despite the book’s brevity.
Offering insight into a rare condition and an excellent depiction of the anxiety and fatigue that can come with modern life, this is at once a window into a specific viewpoint and a sweeping look at the consequences of irreversible urbanisation. It asks us to consider those who, for whatever reason, may be pushed aside in our quest for unchecked technological advancement, and at what cost we should prioritise our own health.