Readers of The Lost Art

Three Shadows

May 14th, 2009

Three Shadows

Three Shadows

Writer and Artist:       Cyril Pedrosa

Reviewer:                    Louise


Lisse, Carlos, and their young son Joachim live an idyllic life on their farm, until one day three mysterious shadows appear on the horizon. In seeking a way to prevent their family being haunted, Lisse and Carlos are horrified to learn from the local wise woman that the shadows have come for their son, and there is no way to stop them. Whilst Lisse accepts this, Carlos refuses to, and takes Joachim on the run, desperately seeking a way to save his child – at any price. 

“Three Shadows” was inspired by the death of Cyril Pedrosa’s friends’ young child, and as such it deals with one of the most harrowing questions of all: what price would a parent pay to save their child from what seems like an inevitable fate? If this sounds like a gloomy read, it’s not; Pedrosa leavens it with his own almost cartoon-like style (he once worked as an animator for Disney). Parts of the book are very funny, and the author performs the impressive feat of implying an entire world, without needing to spell out exactly when and where the action is taking place. 

Particularly impressive is the depiction of the relationship between Carlos and Joachim. A happy father-son relationship is rarely depicted in graphic novels, still less that between a father and a young son. The scenes where the two of them play together, intercut with those showing Carlos’ fear and rage at the thought of any harm coming to his child, make the reader sincerely hope that he will succeed in his quest, even as we increasingly wonder whether he can. 

The only real criticism I would make is to echo that made by another reviewer elsewhere on the Internet. Towards the end, the “Three Shadows” of the title have what he describes as an “irrelevant side adventure”, a description which I rather agree with. It’s not that their story isn’t interesting, just that it rather detracts from the momentum built up by the earlier story, and reads almost like it would have been better included elsewhere, maybe as a short story in an anthology. That said, this isn’t a fatal flaw, and I would recommend “Three Shadows” to anyone ready for a tale of fatherhood and love in graphic format. 


Paperback:   272 pages

Publisher:     First Second; 1st American Ed edition (26 Jun 2008)

ISBN-10:        159643239X

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