Nov 5, 2007

Percy Gloom by Cathy Malkasian

In the business of caution... we are unprepared for happiness.

When I spotted Percy Gloom at my local library, I knew right away that I wanted to read it. This is a recent book, and I had never even heard of it before, but the beautiful cover art lured me right away. It turns out that the book had just arrived, and I was the first person to be checking it out from the library. Have I mentioned how much I love my local library? But anyway.

This graphic novel by animated movie director Cathy Malkasian tells the story of Percy Gloom, a fragile, reclusive little man whose dream job is to be a cautionary writer. He manages to get a job at Safely Now, a cautionary writing company, where he tests everyday products and then writes about their hidden dangers – from the menaces lurking in hairbrushes to the serious hazards that are Encyclopaedia sets.

As the story unfolds, we are given more information about Percy’s past. His father, a Gloom true to his name, committed suicide shortly before he was born. He lost his wife in tragic circumstances, and now he finds himself caught up in the cult of Yagapantha, a cult of immortality that is controlling the whole town. It seems that Percy Gloom as been surrounded by death for his whole life – or, more specifically, by an extreme and crippling fear of death.

This makes the story sound rather bleak, but that is not the case in the slightest. Percy Gloom is charming and funny and bizarre. The quote I used to open this post is from the very end of the book, and it sums up its very core: too much caution and too much fear of death get in the way of living in itself.

The book’s beautiful artwork drew me to the eerie and fairy tale-ish world of Percy Gloom right away. You can see some of it at the book’s website. There you can also find some recipes, listen to the Goat’s Solstice Song, and learn interesting things about the author, like the fact that she considers Radiohead the best band on the planet. Another reason to love her! This is her debut book - I can’t wait to see what she does next.


  1. Oh, I can definitely see how the cover of this one grabbed you! It sounds like a wonderful little book...oh, how I hope our library has it...

  2. This sounds neat! I'm not a big graphics novel person, but maybe I'll give this one a chance. :)

  3. That book sounds really good!! I'm going to have to keep my eyes open for it. :)

  4. wow - nymeth you're on a roll!

    another good one! thanks :)

  5. Sounds very cool, cheers for sharing!

  6. Oh man. This one sounds really great!! The cover is definitely a good reason to pick it up!! I'll definitely have to look for it!

  7. Debi: I hope it does too! It really is a wonderful book.

    Eva: Do give this on a chance!

    Court: I hope you do find it. It's definitely worth reading.

    Jean Pierre: I've been lucky with books lately - so many great ones!

    Rhinoa: You're welcome :) It's a great book.

    Stephanie: Isn't it gorgeous? One look at it and I knew I had to read it!

  8. this is really an awesome piece of art that Cathy Malkasian had produced - the book is of great quality and is definitely worth having on your shelf. She is quiet inspiring in her drawings and makes me want to pick up a pencil and start drawing, even though I am not nearly as good. Emotions that she is capable of portraying through her characters are so amazing, you fall in love with each and every one of them at a first sight!

    I hope Phantographics produces more of her work!

    by the way, there is also a percy website!


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