Aneurin (Nye) Wright hasn't been on good terms with his father for a long time. When he receives a call on his birthday from his father, Neil, he isn't quite sure how to react. Neil has been diagnosed with emphysema and is "certified for hospice," a six-month death sentence. He needs help. Newly unemployed, Nye is free to move into the trailer park where his father lives and assume the role of caregiver. Neither Nye nor Neil is particularly enthralled by the situation.
Things to Do in a Retirement Trailer Park documents Nye's reconciliation with his father as he cares for him in hospice. Their daily schedule of pill counting and medical checks unfolds in an extraordinary world where the protagonist is a minotaur and his father a rhinoceros, social workers are sea turtles, and mobile homes move atop gigantic elephants. Curious neighbors and medical and social care workers--whether man or beast--become their friends, and the family comes together once more. Nye and his father become more intimate as they reveal more and more of their emotions to each other. As the old man battles against emphysema, his shortness of breath becomes more evident until his speech bubbles, previously charged with pithy comment, are mostly filled with pauses. Graphic artist Aneurin Wright's unforgettable debut is a universal tale of love and loss told in a wholly original way.
“A work of unflinching reality and subtle beauty. . . . The graphic novel Aneurin Wright has created is beautifully illustrated and poetic in its phrasing. The ellipses are perfectly balanced with what he calls the ‘golden moments,’ the beats telling the story. With such a deft touch and the ability to soak so many complex emotions into each page, Wright’s Things to Do in a Retirement Home Trailer Park deserves a place next to the richest memoirs as well as the most vibrant fantasies.”
—Gavin Ritchie, Arts Journal
“The inventive symbolism never overwhelms the emotional honesty grounding this compelling memoir, which also contributes to the burgeoning field of ‘graphic medicine’ by exploring in both frank and funny terms the complex impact of illness and death on a family.”
—Paul Gravett, Times Literary Supplement
About the Author:
Aneurin Wright earned a BA in English Literature from Yale and a BFA in Illustration and Communication Design from the Pratt Institute. He was the lead animator for the Short History of the United States cartoon sequence in Michael Moore's Academy Award-winning documentary Bowling for Columbine. He lives in Brighton, England, with his graphic designer wife, Lyndsay.