Keeping Two is a quiet, thoughtful, impressionistic story of a couple. The author uses the comic strip form to tell the many timelines and threads of their difficult and challenging relationship. This deeply felt tale makes full use of the graphic novel format to pull the reader in, make the reader stop and reread and think. This is a smart and human book. Recommended By Doug C., Powells.com
Jordan Crane manages to make a meditation on fear, grief, alienation, and other relationship-destroying emotions, and transmute it into a beautiful book about transcendence. I watched it happen on the page, but I’m still not sure how it worked. But it did. Recommended By Keith M., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A young couple is stuck in traffic, reading a book aloud to each other to pass the time. The relationship is already strained, but between the encroaching road rage, and a novel that hits way too close to home, tensions are running especially high by the time they arrive back at their apartment. When one of them leaves to get takeout and a movie, each of the young lovers is individually forced to confront loss, grief, fear, and insecurities in unexpected and shocking ways.
Crane's formal use of the comics medium — threading several timelines and the interior and exterior lives of its protagonists together to create an increasing, almost Hitchcockian sense of dread and paranoia — is masterful. But as the title hints, there are dualities at its core that make it one of the most exciting works of graphic literary fiction in recent memory, a brilliant adult drama that showcases a deep empathy and compassion for its characters as well as a visually arresting showcase of Crane's considerable talents. Keeping Two is ostensibly a story about loss, but by the end, it just might also be about finding something along the way — something that had seemed irredeemable up to that point. In that way, it's also a deeply romantic book.
Cartoonist Jordan Crane has been one of the most quietly influential comics-makers of the past quarter-century - in multiple senses of the word: as a cartoonist, a designer, an editor, a publisher, a printmaker, an advocate, an archivist, and more. But Keeping Two is his biggest project in close to two decades and will be one of the most anticipated graphic novels of 2022.
“A magnificently multilayered graphic novel that empathically addresses the universal human fears of losing those most beloved.” Shelf Awareness (Starred Review)
“Deceptive in its complexity and rewarding of multiple readings, Keeping Two is a romantic graphic novel with deep emotional impact.” Foreword Reviews (Starred Review)
“Crane's magnum opus is a stylistically adventurous evocation of how fear and grief create barriers to genuine intimacy. Not to be missed.” Library Journal (Starred Review)
“Crane lets tiny moments swell into a flood of emotion in his most accomplished and moving work yet….a gently stunning meditation on loss, absence, and connection.” Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
About the Author
Jordan Crane is a cartoonist living in Los Angeles, CA with his wife and kids. Crane first emerged in 1996 with the iconic comics anthology NON, which he edited, designed, printed, contributed to, and published. His previous book was the all-ages graphic novel The Clouds Above (2008).