Crushing by Sophie Burrows

Sophie Burrows' calm and silent new graphic novel is a tale of isolation, of being around people while being utterly alone

Book Review by Heather McDaid | 03 Nov 2021
  • Crushing by Sophie Burrows
Book title: Crushing
Author: Sophie Burrows

Crushing is a tale of two people. She is lonely and searching for connection. He is lonely but afraid to reach out. Sophie Burrows’ graphic novel is a tale of isolation, of being around people while being utterly alone, and it’s a calm and silent book. Through its lack of words, all that’s left to read is the feeling – of searching, of wanting, of moving through the world day after day.

Being alone, both literally and emotionally, is a notion many have lived with for a long time, and many more have been forced to confront in this recent lost year. A muted palette with pops of reds and pinks guide the reader through many days that could blur into one another, each having their own small significance in moments that in other stories wouldn't warrant mention, or are mere background details. This isolation, repetitiveness, is this story's main thread.

Crushing is an exploration of that feeling’s silent weight – the gentle claws that pull you in one direction of hope, towards company or solitude, of comfortable sameness. A wanting and not-wanting in one. It's warm, it's funny – a subtle read, resting in the minor moments – the kebab shop visits, supermarkets, being curled up on the couch watching TV. More than words, Crushing is a feeling; a comforting, quiet feeling – just a really nice and relatable read for our times.

David Fickling Books, 4 Nov, £16.99