‘Daytripper’: The Best Reminder of Your Impending Death
Not to freak you out, but you could die today. Random accident, sudden aneurysm, violent crime. It’s the thought that any of these things could happen at any moment that stops us sometimes, and makes us reflect on how close that truck came or how easy it would be to just slip over the railing. The thoughts are brief and easily forgotten, but for a moment it’s easy to get caught in the fantasy of each little death you avoid every day.
Daytripper by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá is about the deaths that obituary writer Brás de Oliva Domingos can’t avoid, with a first chapter that opens on Brás’ birthday and closes on his demise.In between, Bras reflects on his life and all he’s accomplished, or rather, hasn’t accomplished. He lives in the shadow of his luminous father, a writer who is celebrated on a national stage. It’s this celebration that eclipses Brás’ own life and mires him in an existential self-examination. He worries about his career, his personal life, and all the things he hasn’t done. When his friend Jorge tries to remind him of the life he’s already led, Bras brushes it off, unsatisfied. And so he goes to his father’s ceremony, stops at a bar for a smoke and a drink, and is murdered in a random act of violence.
Brás’ death doesn’t stop the story. Rather, his death is ignored and each subsequent chapter picks up somewhere else in Brás’ life, past and future, as if he’d never died. It’s always a milestone moment, an important chapter in Brás’ story, and each chapter ends with his mortality threatened.
The structure repeats itself every chapter but it never gets boring. Mysteries of Brás’ life are revealed and answered as you learn more about where he came from and where he’s going. The threat of death is always there, but you find yourself so drawn into the drama of Brás’ life that you quickly forget about the inevitable end of every issue.
The suddenness of death and the importance of life seems like trite subject matter, but Moon and Bá write with such sincerity that it never feels cloying. It’s a book about learning to live with the things you have because you might not have them for long, and it never tries to be anything else.