You’re 29, able-bodied and unemployed. You’ve got ambitions as an artist, but no prospects. No problem. Move into a retirement home trailer park with your 68 year old father who’s recently been inducted into a local hospice program. Become the chief, 24 hour carer. Add a pinch of salt, and stir. Simmer for 8 years.
A tour-de-force nearly a decade in the making, this is a powerful, superbly-drawn and deeply moving portrait of a young man coming to terms with his dying father, and with his own life, as he takes care of the old man in his final months.
Their daily schedule of pill counting and medical checks unfolds into an extraordinary world where the protagonist is a minotaur, his father a rhinoceros, social workers are sea turtles and mobile homes move atop gigantic elephants. Curious neighbours and medical and social care workers—whether man or beast—become their friends, and the family comes together once more. And as the old man battles against emphysema, his shortness of breath becomes more evident until his speech bubbles, previously charged with pithy comment, are mostly filled with pauses.
Aneurin Wright’s unforgettable début is a universal tale of love and loss told in a wholly original way.