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Mazebook: 01/18/23

Mazebook

Mazebook by Jeff Lemire (2022) follows a lonely building inspector as he grieves for his daughter who succumbed to illness. The daughter loved to solve mazes and its through the solving of the one she left unfinished that he's finally able to come to terms with her death.

Like Underwater Welder (2012) and Roughneck, Mazebook uses a physical exploration of the world as a means of metaphorical transformation. This exploration, through the last remaining puzzle — actually a labyrinth, in that it has one path in and out, also puts Mazebook on the Road Narrative Spectrum.

The man, wishing to see his daughter again, and perhaps rescue her from her fate, is a scarecrow traveler (99) and this is further amplified by the inclusion of minotaur iconography throughout. His destination is the city, in that he's exploring the same city buildings he's been inspecting for years, but through a very different map (the labyrinth) (00). His route there is the labyrinth.

While sometimes Lemire goes for the very literal approach to his otherworldly explorations, this time his hero can't succeed in bringing back his daughter. The dead remain dead. But he does manage to find a way to move on, and is able to help a neighbor who is certainly his friend by the end of the book, and quite possibly more.

Five stars

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