For those who haven’t spent much time reading graphic novels, it might seem hard to comprehend just how much the addition of images lends to the telling of a story. There are pluses and minuses to this. When reading a “normal” book, your brain does the work of filling in the images the words are feeding you. That’s usually more than half the fun of reading. A graphic novel does take that away, but here’s why that’s okay: the creator of the novel is better at making these pictures than your brain is, and these are the exact pictures they want you to be seeing. It allows you the full experience in translation of their vision, to your eyeballs, and Adrian Tomine is masterful at it. The stories contained in this book deal with mistaken identity (between a woman, and a woman who’s a porn star), domestic abuse, love, hope, and loneliness. Tomine is well known for his long running comic, Optic Nerve, which he started when he was 16. Now 41, his work is frequently featured in the New Yorker, and he’s won a shitload of awards for his books. If you’re looking for a good introduction to his work, Killing and Dying would be a fantastic one, but brace yourself for a bubbling well of emotions that you may not be ready for.