BOOKS

Graphic Novel Depicts The Difficulty Of Coming Out

In the spirit of recent MacArthur "Genius" Grant recipient Alison Bechdel and other comic artists opting for realism over fantasy as their storytelling methods, a new graphic novel depicts the difficulties of growing up as a closeted gay man.

Writer Hubert's previous work has been of a less introspective variety -- his Miss Don't Touch Me series is a pair of thrillers set in 1930s Paris and starring an unconventional housewife -- but this departure from his typical themes is a welcome one. His newest book, Adrian and the Tree of Secrets, follows a shy student to gym class and on after-school escapades.

The protagonist's discomfort in the changing room is expressed by a subtly arched eyebrow -- same goes for his discontent when falling for a classmate who later seems to be in a heterosexual relationship. Adrian's adventures are imbued with thoughtful discussions of art and literature, and are made touchingly relatable by illustrator Marie Caillou.