BOOKLIST reviews Anders Nilsen's DOGS & WATER

“Dogs and Water” / Booklist. Volume 101; Issue 11 / Ray Olson / February 1, 2005

A man dressed for the cold trudges down a highway through featureless country, talking to a teddy bear strapped to his backpack. He grabs it, shakes it in frustration, tosses it away, retrieves it, then stomps on it and almost bops it with a rock when, from a window in a passing bus, a toy gun points, and a voice says, "Pop." Next day, the walker encounters some elk, and the road ends. Continuing, he finds a ruined house, his pack is nearly stolen, snow falls, a pack of dogs finds him. He comes across a downed helicopter and a wounded man by a huge pipeline. There his journey becomes potentially lethal. Eventually, he goes on. The dogs follow. So where's the water? Periodically the walker's story is interrupted by two to four pages of blue (instead of black) and white showing him at sea in a small boat-a journey, dangerous as his trek, that finally seems its subconscious parallel. Nilsen's austere drawings and cinematic continuity make this simple, symbolic rite-of-passage tale rich and unforgettable. 

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