This year, I’m counting down the 12 books I most enjoyed during 2015. As always, they’re books I read this year but they were not necessarily published this year. But books never go out of fashion so let’s not worry about that.
Last year, Evie Wyld’s All the Birds, Singing was one of my favourite reads of 2014, possibly my favourite. This year, I read her wonderful first graphic novel, illustrated by her friend, Joe Sumner.
Everything is Teeth is a memoir, telling the story of Wyld’s childhood between Australia and South London and her obsession (fear? fascination?) with sharks. These sharks appear throughout the book – sharply and accurately drawn amongst the more cartoon-like cast of wide-eyed Wyld’s family – ominously floating over her shoulder, darting in and out of the corner of her eye. In places, the reader turns the page to be suddenly confronted by splashes of blood (sometimes human, sometimes shark) or grisly images of jaw-shaped wounds across a man’s torso. It is the stuff of childhood nightmares.
The sharks are a menacing presence in the book, but – without giving away the truly moving ending – the real menace is much more mundane than any creatures of the sea. And it’s all the more uncomfortable for it.
Once again, I really enjoyed the deceptively powerful simplicity of Wyld’s prose but, in Everything is Teeth, found Sumner’s beautiful illustrations added further depth to the story. It’s a successful partnership and I hope there are more joint projects on the way.