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Comics & Graphic Novels Literary

Swimming in Darkness

by (author) Lucas Harari

translated by David Homel

Arsenal Pulp Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2019
Literary, Supernatural
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2019
    List Price

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An NPR Best Book of the Year

Pierre is a young man at a crossroads. He drops out of architecture school and decides to travel to Vals in the Swiss Alps, home to a thermal springs complex located deep inside a mountain. The complex, designed by architect Peter Zumthor, had been the subject of Pierre's thesis. The mountain holds many mysteries; it was said to have a mouth that periodically swallowed people up. Pierre, sketchbook in hand, is drawn to the enigmatic powers of the mountain and its springs, and attempts to uncover the truth behind them in the secret rooms he discovers deep within the complex. But he finds his match in a man named Valeret who is similarly obsessed, and who'd like nothing more than to eliminate his competitor.

Gorgeously illustrated, Swimming in Darkness is an intriguing, noirish graphic novel about uncovering the powerful secrets of the natural world.

About the authors

Lucas Harari was born in Paris in 1990, where he still lives, and has a degree in decorative arts with a special interest in printed works. He self-published fanzines before working as an illustrator for book publishers and others. Swimming in Darkness is his first book.

Lucas Harari's profile page

David Homel was born in Chicago in 1952 and left that city in 1970 for Paris, living in Europe the next few years on odd jobs and odder couches. He has published eight novels, from Electrical Storms in 1988 to The Teardown, which won the Paragraph Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction in 2019. He has also written young adult fiction with Marie-Louise Gay, directed documentary films, worked in TV production, been a literary translator, journalist, and creative writing teacher. He has translated four books for Linda Leith Publishing: Bitter Roase (2015), (2016), Nan Goldin: The Warrior Medusa (2017) and Taximan (2018). Lunging into the Underbrush is his first book of non-fiction. He lives in Montreal.

David Homel's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Praise for this book cannot be overstated ... From the opening pages, Swimming in Darkness grabs the reader and refuses to let go, creeping slowly through an uncanny realm where fiction and reality dance together in a haunting and unforgettable waltz. -Comic Watch

Harari melds academia, obsession, and mysticism in this eerie graphic novel ... This is a stylish, atmospheric book whose deliberate pacing deliciously builds tension and mystery. -Publishers Weekly

Swimming in Darkness is a beautifully rendered mystery. Its pages teem with secret passages, showing us that Earth has an architecture beyond our recognition. -Samuel Sattin, author of Legend

A compelling mystery/suspense thriller that will keep audiences riveted. Imagine a stylish and brooding psychological thriller without a corpse, and you’ll get the gorgeously drawn Swimming in Darkness ... Cinematically stylish, Swimming in Darkness has quite a steady hand when it comes to suspense and mystery. You will be completely engrossed by this reading experience. -Villain Media

This noirish modern of mysterious architectures, strange geometries and people drowning in obsession is eerily unsettling and completely mesmerising. -Warren Ellis

Harari's tale is pulpy noir by way of Hitchcock, with a strong, Lynchian hint of the uncanny. -NPR's Best Books of the Year list

Beautifully rendered, this should appeal to discerning readers who favor the artwork as much as the story in graphic novels. -Booklist (STARRED REVIEW)

Much like the mountain in Swimming In Darkness, Harari's intricate, puzzle-like grid will pull you in, and swallow you whole. -Elsa Charretier, author of November Vol. 1

Swiss architect Peter Zumthor's work on the Therme Vals - a hotel and spa built over the only thermal springs in the Graubunden Canton in Switzerland - is intentionally overwhelming. It's built into a mountain and devoid of clocks, so that visitors surrender entirely to the experience. There is, however, a myth that the mountain has been known to swallow people whole from time to time. The new graphic novel Swimming in Darkness lives in the space between those two facts. -Hollywood Reporter

Harari incorporates local legend with the history of architecture, particularly the idea of secret rooms, and wraps these all around Zumthor's conundrum of a structure and the stylistic forms of noir ... Compelling. -Comics Beat

Other titles by David Homel