Funeral of the Heart is Leah Hayes' stylistic tour-de-force and graphic novel debut, featuring a series of short stories by Hayes and illustrated entirely using the otherworldly medium of scratchboard. Hayes creates a world of unease and ambiguity populated by obsessive characters, forlorn animals, and mysterious, inanimate objects; odd occurrences, unnerving deaths and unconventional but genuine love bind these characters and their stories together. In "The Bathroom," a middle-aged couple discover a mysterious tunnel in their poolhouse after a neighbor's child accidentally drowns in their pool — leading to an immaculate bathroom and another drowning. In "The Needle," two sisters suffer the death of their grandmother as well as her possible resurrection at the hands of the woman with the needle.
The stories are hand lettered and juxtaposed against stark, highly stylized, graphically powerful, black and white images. Stories with titles like "The Bathroom," "The Needle," and "The Hair" sound innocuous, but they aren't fables that should be read to one's children — unless your children enjoy being made uneasy by beautiful things.