In her latest work, Davis (What Is Art??, a 2018 LJ Best Book) taps into the paradox of radical ideology—why fight the powers that be if there’s nothing greater to hope for? For whom do we try to make a better world? Thirtysomething Hannah seeks answers in protest and politics but also hopes for a child. The story winds through her days in her caregiver role as a home health aide and her activist role, which intertwines with a challenging friendship. Her husband, Johnny, who stands as something of a foil to her determined engagement with others, is on a more nihilistic, antisociety path, slowly building a house in the woods and finding kinship with a conspiracy theorist with good carpentry skills. Sensitive, intimate illustrations take the pulse of Hannah’s strivings beautifully, with Davis’s signature visual language of gentleness and strength doing much of the narrative’s emotional work. Although seen through one woman’s eyes, the work makes a broader statement about the radical act of hope that is caring deeply for others, and perhaps bearing a child into a broken world.
VERDICT Davis’s subtle take on a major philosophical question is an efficient and affective read for anyone struggling to find purpose in trying times.