Our protagonist is Jack Barlow – a bit of a loser character. Jack’s pregnant wife – Patience – is murdered in 2016 and that event traumatises him for life. Thirteen years later, he comes across a time travel device which provides him with the opportunity to prevent Patience’s murder. Naturally, things don’t quite pan out as planned.
Touted as a “psychedelic scifi” story, Patience is Clowes’ attempt at a fairly straight-forward narrative with the time travel providing the moments of patented weirdness. Jack Barlow and Patience are well fleshed out characters – lovers separated by tragedy – like Romeo and Juliet. The elder Barlow is a bad-ass compared to his younger self, a Bruce Willis type trying to achieve the impossible because of love. Clowes handles the time paradox issues well and keeps the reader guessing.
Probably one of Clowes’ more accessible books – one can easily imagine Patience being adapted on film or TV, save perhaps that its premise is similar to Stephen King’s 11-22-63, now currently airing. Patience is superior for Clowes’ quirkiness and keen insight into the human psyche.
Official Website: http://www.fantagraphics.com/patience/