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Waiting on the sidelines of life

The Bench

Ingrid Godon & Paul Verrept

The loss of his parents causes a young man to take drastic action: he leaves the world he knows behind to sit on an apparently random bench in the park and watch the world around him go by. Passers-by come and go, occasionally stay a moment, exchange a few words. The man learns of their troubles.

Pure emotion
De Standaard

‘The Bench’ is the moving story of a man overwhelmed by loneliness and anxiety. The poetic text and the atmospheric illustrations exude heartfelt melancholy and mournful solitude. Godon makes pain, desperation and yearning tangible and offers up a varied sample card of her abilities: from seemingly naïve pictures that represent childish happiness to hushed illustrations that harbour a world of unspoken emotions.

To begin with, the anonymous narrator is merely an observer. But as time goes by and the seasons pass over his sadness and yearning, the narrator begins to act, motivated by childhood memories. It seems as if the bench is also a place to sit and wait for someone from long ago. Someone who will never come. Someone who is always there. The apparently aimless waiting appears to have a goal, although the question of whether that ultimate yearning will ever be fulfilled remains.

A beautiful sum of its parts that you will carefully read and reread, sometimes quietly, sometimes aloud, so you can test and hear every word.
Fascinating illustrations