Kari is the dark twisted tale of our eponymous character. Twenty something, working as a copywriter for an ad firm in the city of dreams, she wakes up to a failed suicide attempt. Or was it? Her love and soulmate Ruth has left the city, saved by safety nets while she was left to crawl from a sewer into a landfill. Thus begins Amruta Patil’s debut graphic novel, throwing the reader into a whirlwind of colors and words from the first page.
She takes us on a ride with Kari, where she stumbles and falls, retraces her steps, and picks up after herself. We watch her floating through life as if in a dream and search for meaning in trance, all the while struggling wearily with the dreariness of real life, mundane and painful. Patil paints a picture of gloom and despair, her grey ink leaking from pages, into the lives of her characters.
There are writers and there are illustrators. Amruta Patil dons both hats with apparent ease and adroitness. Her words and colors melt into each other, her writing and artwork complementing each other, like two entwined streams of thought and consciousness. She captures the city’s soul and her heroine’s with a keen observer’s eye and infuses a sense of dystopia that at once overwhelms and relieves. Kari’s emotional turmoil, her distorted realities, and her alter-egos each have their own nuanced hues and shades, bringing to the reader a breathless and entrancing escapade from our monochromatic lives.
Amruta Patil has a Master in Fine Arts from the School of the Museum of Fine Art, Boston, and has been an editor, a copywriter and a school teacher before making her fray into the world of graphic novels. Kari has been claimed to be a definitive piece of work in Indian graphic fiction and is a must read for graphic novel lovers and people who love the feminine mind, body and soul.
You can also find the review here.