This contribution to the collection The Shape of Content is difficult to classify. Combining fiction and fact, essay and comic book, fantasy and philosophy, it essentially takes the form of a proposal for a comic book that the narrator would like to write about Evariste Galois. However, rather than being merely a graphic novel presenting the tragic life of this real mathematician based on the few historical facts we know, it would have him spending some time in a metaphysical but real "ideaspace" where he meets Heloise, a woman from the 21st century who is in an unhappy marriage and has repressed her interest in mathematics. (In another less mathematical subplot, we find Galois becoming good friends with Poe's Detective Auguste Dupin to unravel the mystery of his father's apparent suicide. Abate does not mention it, but I am left wondering whether his Dupin would share with Galois the same distaste for mathematics that he expresses in The Purloined Letter.)
The sample illustrations by Paolo Bisi are beautiful and leave me wanting more. The outline of the story, though detailed in many ways, is occasionally (intentionally?) vague. As a result, I really hope that I someday get to see this comic book in its final form. I think I would love it as much as I loved this bit of "metafiction"...but I am not sure. Perhaps this description of an "ideal" comic book is the perfect medium for this ambitious and creative idea.
