Author: written by Liza Futerman, illustrated by Evi Tampold
Publish Date: October 2016
Publisher: Tampold Publishing
Catalog ID: 0994832915
Where to buy: https://www.cavershambooksellers.com/search/0994832915
Additional info: An article about illustrator Evi Tampold in the Toronto Star: https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/2016/05/12/graphic-novelist-confronts-growing-up-with-adhd.html
guest review by Xinyi Zhu, student in the “Comics Narratives: Illness, Disability, & Recovery” course, Art Therapy Program, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Keeper of the Clouds illustrates a beautiful moment between a mother living with Alzheimer’s and her daughter. The title, story, and illustrations are poetic and touching. The generation gap sometimes makes communication tough between parents and children, but Alzheimer’s disease dramatically increases the gap of the mother’s and daughter’s world in this story. The mother’s world becomes timeless due to the short-term memory loss and not being able to recognize the concept of time. The daughter’s world is filled with worries about all kinds of time, mainly the appointments with doctors for her mother. Within a few pages, I am totally engaged in the situation. On my left is the anxious daughter driving a car to a hospital, staring at the annoying red light; on my right is the mother calmly and happily looking outside. The two different worlds exist together in a small space, seemingly never to connect. However, a bird changes everything. Two sentences depict the mother’s poetically beautiful world: “He [the bird] is the keeper […] Of the clouds, of course.” With a two-page scene, I can feel the light shed down on the two worlds, the wind blows away all the mist and a bridge appears, connecting the mother and the daughter.
The disease is already difficult, so a positive perspective can help in solving problems. In the story, the daughter is occupied by “millions of troubles”, so she is just too anxious to treat her mother as a mother instead of an Alzheimer’s patient. After reading the zine, I feel calm. What happened has happened, but there is still beauty in life. The daughter finds a better perspective of Alzheimer’s, feeling the beauty of her mother’s world, not only the loss of “time”. In the end, life goes on, her mother still cannot remember much, but experiences the warmth of family.
Though this zine focuses on communication and relationship-building in dementia care, I found it also provides a good example for all kinds of communication between generations and family members. We can always try a brand new perspective. With a different angle, a new world can be generated and attractive aspects can be found, just like in the zine.