Imagine Wanting Only This by Kristen Radtke is a tales-filled, beautiful, but troubling graphic memoir with existential prose and breathtaking illustrations. Extensively talking about abandonment and life as ephemeral and fleeting, devoid of any ambition, the writer uses different stage of her life to explain how alienation can feel.
It is a graphic novel delivered in a modernist, hyper-real persona that severally incorporates actual photographs. This lends an extra air of credence to the tales and the intricacy of the dilapidated and abandoned structures. But it is the author’s quest for answers to her nagging life while trying to evade the realities of life that make Imagine Wanting Only Thisworth a read.
Solitude for a partner
Radtke seems interested in both the emotional loneliness and the world’s literal ruin, a theme that becomes clear right from the sudden death of her beloved uncle. For someone whose life has been punctuated with the death of her dearest relatives, from her grandmother to Dan, her uncle, solitude seemingly became her other partner.
When she was still in college, her uncle’s death caused by dilated cardiomyopathy and the sight of an abandoned mining town exposed her to what would later shape the plot of the novel. Not even her relationship with Andrew and their home in Chicago would save her from the loneliness. The fascination would deepen, triggering a vacation that took her around the world, in search of ruined places.
Among the many destinations, Kristen Radtke set foot on dozens of European countries, Iceland, the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia and visited ruined structures. The ruin inside of her, however, highlights itself when she’s confronted by the same genetic heart problem that killed her uncle.
When feeling lost and alienated, it is worth setting out in pursuit for artificial self-discovery?
Life is a mixture of happiness and solitude, though the latter can hurt more and sometimes leave one with questions. But even when both are inescapable, it only matters when you choose to focus on the positives only.
Imagine Wanting Only This offers invaluable lessons about loss, love, and how to cope with grief. Another of the few definitive discoveries in this graphic memoir is how Kristen manages to find a solution to the riddle that is the book’s title.
Regardless of the sojourn across the world or her factual, historical and personal experiences, her fruitless pursuit of purpose and meaning,Imagine Wanting Only Thisis beautifully troubling. How she sets out throughout the world up to the point when she lands back clearly brings out the main theme of abandonment.
Imagine Wanting Only This has a lot of humorous parts, questions, teachings, values and wise words of wisdom from the widely traveler author.
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