The Silence of Our Friends
The Silence of Our Friends
By Mark Long, Jim Demonakos and Nate Powell. Published by Square Fish.
Softcover, 208 pages, B&W, 2018.
A New York Times-bestselling graphic novel based on the true story of two families—one white and one black—who find common ground as the civil rights struggle heats up in Texas.
This semi-autobiographical tale is set in 1967. A white family from a notoriously racist neighborhood in the suburbs and a black family from its poorest ward cross Houston's color line, overcoming humiliation, degradation, and violence to win the freedom of five black college students unjustly charged with the murder of a policeman.
The Silence of Our Friends follows events through the point of view of young Mark Long, whose father is a reporter covering the story. Semi-fictionalized, this story has its roots solidly in very real events. With art from the brilliant Nate Powell (Swallow Me Whole) bringing the tale to heart-wrenching life, The Silence of Our Friends is a new and important entry in the body of civil rights literature.
Praise for The Silence of Our Friends:
"[A]n engrossing narrative about race in America, while honestly dealing with a host of other real-world issues, including familial relationships, friendship, dependency, "other"-ness, and perhaps most importantly, the search for common ground." —Publishers Weekly
"A moving evocation of a tipping point in our country's regrettable history of race relations, Long and Demonakos's story flows perfectly in Eisner and Ignatz Award winner Powell's graceful and vivid yet unpretty black-and-gray wash." —Library Journal
"[C]onvincingly depicts the systemic racism, blatant and subtle, that suffused and corroded everything during [the] period…[Popwell's] imagery amplifies the effects of the book's multiple perspectives—the overwhelmed kid's-eye view of uneasy family dynamics and open Texas spaces, the hyperkinetic chaos on campus, the cropped literalism of TV newscasts." —The New York Times
"Powell uses a mixture of large and small panels along with a variety of frame compositions and points of view to give the book a cinematic realism. From this intimate vantage point, racist incidents are shockingly ugly, while happy domestic moments—as when the kids from both families belt out "Soul Man"—are unself-consciously beautiful. The youthful protagonist and graphic-novel format will plunge readers into a time that can seem very distant. Ideal as a class read, absorbing for solo readers." —School Library Journal
"Covering a time period of societal unrest from Viet Nam to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Silence uses realistic black-and-white illustrations to convey a subject that is not black and white." —VOYA