The Arkansas International reviews From Lone Mountain

“From Lone Mountain” / The Arkansas Review / March 13, 2018

From Lone Mountain is a five-year collection of stories and comics from King-Cat, the self-published zine which, over the past three decades, has earned John Porcellino a cult following. Porcellino’s pairing of minimalist drawings with his unfiltered observations of nature and his own interior struggles results in a refreshing voice—one that is intimate, unpretentious, and instantly recognizable to readers. His central preoccupation in this series, as it moves from Denver to San Francisco and back to Denver again, is the concept of home: “Now I don’t even know if I know what ‘home’ means anymore,” he confesses. “It’s not necessarily a physical place, right? But maybe it’s that place where we feel connected to the meaning of our own lives.” In spite of the loss of his father and his beloved cat Maisie, Porcellino continues to connect with the world around him. In the issue “Places,” we inhabit the towns and neighborhoods that formed him. Overlooked, little known places such as Scott County, Kansas, where, below the plains and croplands, he and his friend discover an oasis of crayfish “waving their happy claws,” or Dekalb, Illinois, where he reflects on his warehouse job and the evenings of refried beans that led him to pack up and move away from a comfortable, yet unfulfilling life. Porcellino invites his readers along on a road trip with him—a slow, deliberate one. And thankfully, with such an observant guide, nothing seems to go unnoticed: not crane flies or catalpa trees or the “size, location, and position of the heart”.

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