Graphic Novel By Trena Hollands 'The House the Inventor Built' follows Randall Honest on his search for answers regarding his mother’s mysterious family history. Conceived as a narrative intertwined with the artist’s own life, Hollands draws from her familial connections to Edinburgh and Skye and the secretive artefacts hidden in her grandfather’s house on the remote coast of British Columbia. Illustrated entirely from a first-person perspective and influenced by seminal works of surrealism and horror, The House the Inventor Built examines the effects of memory and the reverberation of intergenerational ties and trauma.
With a stimulating career and busy family, no one would ever call Randall’s life mundane. Even still, he suffered from a permeating sense of dissatisfaction. Growing up in a dysfunctional and impoverished home, Randall had overcome the odds only to find the resulting sense of accomplishment somewhat hollow.
After the clearing out and sale of his grandmother’s home, Randall inherits a sketchbook once belonging to his great- grandfather, a geologist working in Edinburgh, Scotland in the late 19th century. The resurfacing of the sketchbook prompts memories of childhood explorations through the upper floors of the same house and spur a resurgence of sleep paralysis episodes that spanned his childhood.
These developments renew Randall’s childhood obsession with his mother’s mysterious family history and the enigmatic house built by his inventor grandfather. This fixation ultimately takes him across the ocean and over land travelled and sketched by his great grandfather. Through his exploration Randall finds correspondence sent from father to son that seems to conceal a kind of map, its significance becoming more and more relevant as he attempts to unravel its meaning. What begins as a compelling investigation into ancestry and heredity, devolves into a perilous journey of self discovery that ultimately questions the true nature of reality.