Nao Brown is 'Hafu': half Japanese, half English. She suffers with OCD, but not the hand-washing, overly tidy type that people joke about.
Nao suffers from violent morbid obsessions and a racing, unruly mind.
She works part time in a 'designer' vinyl toy shop, whilst struggling to get her own design and illustration career off the ground.
She's looking for love - the perfect love. But in meeting the man of her dreams, she realises that - dreams can be quite weird.
Nao meditates in an attempt to quieten her mind and open her heart and it's through this that she comes to realise that things aren't so black and white after all.
In fact, they're much more...brown.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 208 pages, chiefly col. Illustrations
- Publisher: SelfMadeHero
- Publication Date: 17/09/2012
- Category: Comics and Graphic Novels
- ISBN: 9781906838423
Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.
Review by jnwelch
The Nao of Brown by Glyn Dillon features beautiful artwork, and would be worth taking a look at for that reason alone. But it has an unusual, engaging story that had me going back through the book when I was done.Nao Brown is half-Japanese, very cute, and an artist. She works in a shop selling Japanese toys and such. She's obsessed with Japanese Ichi comic book characters, and falls for a bearded, heavyset washing-machine repairman who looks like one of them. Her problem: she is plagued by an obsessive compulsive disorder that unexpectedly will overwhelm her with thoughts of injuring and killing other people. The images and thoughts can be simply awful, like stabbing a pregnant woman in the belly. Her struggles to cope with this disorder and conceal it are riveting. Also fascinating is her use of Buddhist meditation and Buddhist artwork to help her learn to not be overwhelmed.There is a good bit of humor and gentle wisdom in the book as well. The teachers and students at the Buddhist center, for example, can be overly sincere and unaware of their absurdity, for all their compassionate intentions.Interspersed is the story of a half-man, half-tree Ichi character who joins the Japanese army. The graphic images are weird, ornate and contrasting in style to the realism of the rest of the book. But they also have a quiet serenity to them which understandably appeals to Nao, and the reader.In Nao's story we learn about her toy store boss, her roommate, her family, and of course her repairman boyfriend. He turns out to have a wisdom, and a secret, of his own. There is a short text piece toward the end from his diary that provides a different angle to the story. If you are looking for something different in your reading, this certainly provides it. It also provides a rare and thoughtful Buddhist perspective on its events.
Review by comixminx
Beautiful. Moving. Compassionate. Amazing.<br/><br/>*********<br/><br/>All right, a bit more detail then. The art is amazing: the main style feels loose and open but actually contains a lot of detail, none of which feels overpowering because of the gorgeous colouring. Reds and whites dominate and give a cohesive, somewhat manga-ish feel. There is a subsidiary story done in a much solider style with much darker inks, also beautiful but giving a different feel.<br/><br/>The story is poignant and sensitive: the main theme is of course around issues with the OCD that lead character Nao suffers from, and it seems (though I'm certainly no expert) that Glynn Dillon has done his homework on this, rather than making assumptions or following stereotypes. You read to the end, through grim and difficult parts, and feel catharsis by the end: uplifted.
Review by greeniezona
Another book picked up on impulse from the staff recommends table at the library. The cover was wonderful, the synopsis on the inside was intriguing - it was a fast, easy sell. But then it got put aside, and it wasn't until the day it was due that I got around to reading it. But once I opened it, I couldn't put it down. Into the bath, out of the bath, getting dressed, downstairs to read on the couch (too noisy), back upstairs to read in the bed until I was done. (Thank goodness it was my day off!)<br/><br/>The art was so lovely and expressive. The characters were original and relatable. I wanted to reach in and give them <i>all</i> a big hug. Even when they were at odds - maybe <i>especially</i> when they were at odds. The way Nao's OCD is handled is very interesting. Her violent morbid fantasies are disorienting at first (as I'm sure they're supposed to be), but then they're almost familiar. Most people have these horrible thoughts that pop in unbidden - about suddenly wrenching the wheel and driving off the road... the damage a pair of scissors could do.... don't boil the baby (an inside joke for those familiar with <i>The Poo Bomb</i>.) Most of us recognize the thought as aberrant and not likely to happen and so shake ourselves and move on. Nao gets stuck in them. While this sometimes controls her behavior, she is understandably reluctant to let even those she is very close to in on what's going on inside her mind.<br/><br/>My only criticism is that the resolution seemed to happen a little fast. I would have liked to know a little more detail about how Nao got from point A to Point B, figuratively. But otherwise, this is a wonderful and moving book about the way our brains sometimes sabotage us. And this wonderful bit from the foreword: "The restless mind will make you believe that it is you. That <i>you</i> are it. <i>You</i> are not.
Review by maggie1944
It is a beautiful book in which the graphic panels are all obviously carefully wrought works of art. And the talent of the artist is clearly great. I loved looking at it as I read the story.The story is hanging in my mind and I don't know quite how to describe it. Partly it is a stream of consciousness in a young woman who suffers from some mental obsessions; and who is making her way through life as best she can. I enjoyed reading about her, and sympathized with many of her difficulties, and was happy for her when things went well. Then, there is another sub-plot, with entirely different pictures, and characters, which I did not "get". Flat out, I did not understand it, and I'm still puzzled. I think this book will rattle about in my head for a good while. If I figure out the other story, I'll come back and tell you.