February 22, 2018


The Long Island by Drew Beckmeyer is a tough book no matter which way you come at it.

In this deceptively simple modern fable, five faceless and unnamed protagonists collectively wonder what's on the other side of their island and proceed to build themselves a way to get there. What happens next takes them on a dangerous and haunting journey of self-discovery and bittersweet fulfillment.

There's a lot to be gleaned from the illustrations in this book, and the choice of crayon makes the illustrations feel primal, like the men on this island are in the stone age. Of course, the choice of crayon also makes the message of the book even more haunting: the desire of these innocent men to innovate and explore ultimately leads directly to the downfall of their home and themselves. The story is thought-provoking and leaves lots of room for discussions on a smattering of topics that I can only begin to touch on here, including LGBTQ themes, environmentalism, and mental health. The endpapers are beautiful, too.

The Long Island publishes from Chronicle Books in April 2018.

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