Released back into her snowbound Northern Ontario town after a hospital stay due to an unspecified “episode,” the nameless, flamboyantly coiffed protagonist of Michael DeForge’s slim storybook proceeds to take on precarious employment at the local cannery, engage in sedentary adultery and huddle away from her neighbours and family. It’s all the dour stuff of CanLit classics, told via captions of admirably deadpan prose, but invigorated and made searingly strange by the artist’s flattened-out, fever-dream visuals – like Surfacing as told through Byzantine icons. DeForge structures his book as a series of tableaux where bilious shades of salmon, pistachio and pitch-black predominate, as though these glimpses of our heroine’s life arrive filtered through her quavering consciousness. Soon, she cares dispassionately for a stranger’s young child, then faces the holidays alone, while a chimerical, fiery-maned beast seems to prowl her home. DeForge’s allegory of psychic recovery wavers on the unhealthy precipice between hope and despair, where his image-making has rarely been more potent.