The River at Night (Hardcover)
Appeared on best of the year lists from The Guardian, The Globe & Mail, WIRED, and more! Nominated for the Cartoonist Studio Prize!
In The River at Night, Kevin Huizenga delves deep into consciousness. What begins as a simple, distracted conversation between husband and wife, Glenn and Wendy Ganges—him reading a library book and her working on her computer—becomes an exploration of being and the passage of time. As they head to bed, Wendy exhausted by a fussy editor and Glenn energized by his reading and no small amount of caffeine, the story begins to fracture.
The River at Night flashes back, first to satirize the dot-com boom of the late 1990s and then to examine the camaraderie of playing first-person shooter video games with work colleagues. Huizenga shifts focus to suggest ways to fall asleep as Glenn ponders what the passage of time feels like to geologists or productivity gurus. The story explores the simple pleasures of a marriage, like lying awake in bed next to a slumbering lover, along with the less cherished moments of disappointment or inadvertent betrayal of trust. Huizenga uses the cartoon medium like a symphony, establishing rhythms and introducing themes that he returns to, adding and subtracting events and thoughts, stretching and compressing time. A walk to the library becomes a meditation on how we understand time, as Huizenga shows the breadth of the comics medium in surprising ways. The River at Night is a modern formalist masterpiece as empathetic, inventive, and funny as anything ever written.
“[The River at Night is] about everything and nothing...It’s a deeply surreal journey through work, computer games, law enforcement, geology, married life, and robots.”—The Guardian Best of 2019
“As midwestern everyman Glenn Ganges fights insomnia, his addled brain contemplates everything from video games to geologic time.”—The Globe and Mail Best of 2019
“Huizenga’s cartooning blends the clear, concise storytelling of classic comic strips with more experimental layouts and compositions, a fusion of aesthetics that makes his artwork deeply expressive and consistently surprising.”—The AV Club
“As Ganges and his wife Wendy…go about their daily lives, Ganges’s ambient mind and goofy-smart interests combine to take the reader on elaborate journeys through human consciousness in stories that delight in pushing the formal visual structures of the comics medium.”—The Millions
“We have all lived this book, but perhaps not as thoroughly and as humorously as Ganges.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Graced with gorgeous lines that recall the suburban grids of lliana, The River at Night is alternately surreal and mundane, profound and silly.”—Chicago Magazine
“[The River at Night is an] ambitious new graphic novel about everything from insomnia to the nature of time, with philosophical explorations into relationships, video games and the importance of making it to the library on time, all contained within as well.”—The Hollywood Reporter
“[Kevin Huizenga] transports the fortunate reader through this new sequential-art meditation on time and, let’s also say, life and how to live it.—The Austin Chronicle
“A remarkably intelligent, playful, at times actually stressful, and thoroughly relatable reading experience like nothing else.”—Library Journal
“There is humour here, and empathy, and a startling grasp of the nature of consciousness. It deserves multiple readings not simply because it is a great book, but because these readings all unearth something new.”—Broken Frontier
“Huizenga has a gift for marrying the weird, abstract, funny, and touching in a way that would otherwise never work for any other creator, but feels natural, and almost structured, in it’s chaos.”—Comics Beat, best of 2019
“Huizenga threads through each of these stories his interest in how the transcendental enters into domestic life.”—Shelf Awareness
“This book is a long, complex, and tangential stream of consciousness narrative that takes place in the mind of his continuing character, Glenn Ganges, over the course of one sleepless night.”—The Seattle Review of Books
“Kevin Huizenga’s The River at Night, the recent collection of his Ganges series, is an achievement. It’s the culmination of years of work, the best book by one of our best cartoonists.”—The Comics Journal
"Glenn Ganges in: The River at Night is perilously philosophical, goofily logical, lovingly wild. In Huizenga's hands, an ordinary day reveals its acme holes of infinite regress and counterfactual calamity. A wonderful book, to read and read again."—Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances and Little Labours
"A mix of John McPhee and Richard McGuire’s “Here,” A River at Night is about making the best of life when you know that the world’s been around for billions of years and will go on long after you, too, are gone. How wonderful to spend time with these sweet, gentle characters as they stare straight into the unfeeling universe and decide to make the best of it. A truly beautiful book."—Paul Ford, National Magazine Award-winning Technology Critic
"Wow! I was not prepared for this: The River at Night is a surprising, beautifully rendered, mind-expanding, heartwarming exploration of what it means to be human, to have thoughts, to lie in bed all night after guzzling too much coffee, to follow your thoughts on a journey that maps the universe and makes light of the electrical activity of a brilliant mind. Kevin Huizenga is a kind of dreamer who gets us to think, to love what's in our heads, to love what's in his. Everybody will dig this book!"—Matthew Klam, author of Who is Rich?