In 1996, award-winning Swiss architect Peter Zumthor completed his most overwhelming project: The Therme Vals — the internationally famous spa complex in the Swiss Alps. Built into a mountain in the Swiss Alps, Zumthor became known for overwhelming guests by making the hotel devoid of clocks so that visitors would not be consumed by time. The myth, however, was that the mountain had begun to swallow people whole, and Swimming is Darkness from Arsenal Pulp Press is happy to discuss the line in between the truth and the myth.
Centered around architecture student Pierre, who hopes to recover from a breakdown by visiting the Therme Vals — which were the subject of his thesis — instead finds rooms that aren’t meant to exist, and a fellow visitor looking for answers.
Exhibiting existential horror at its finest, Swimming in Darkness is a strange and dreamlike graphic novel from Lucas Harari — the son of two architects himself — who has been drawn to the idea of the Vals in his own life.
“I visited the thermal baths of Vals as a teenager and the place strongly marked my imagination,” Harari said in a statement. “The materials, the play of light, the sounds, the colors, the context, the landscape—these are the very heart of the architecture in a place that seemed so extraordinary, so romantic, to me. Those emotions stayed very alive in my mind, and they are what guided me in the creation of the book.”
Arsenal Pulp Press—the award-winning publisher of graphic novels including Julie Maroh’s Blue Is The Warmest Color—will publish Swimming in Darkness in the U.S. and Canada on November 5, 2019, introducing English-language readers to a new brand of psychological horror, and a new cartoonist to look out for.
Check out an exclusive preview of Swimming in Darkness below.