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Building Stories (Pantheon Graphic Novels) Hardcover – October 2, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
Step One. Before unwrapping, turn the box over and read the text carefully. Think about it.
Step Two. Open the box, remove the fourteen items that make up its contents, place each one on the floor -- most tables are not big enough -- as shown in pictograph.Then...
Step 3. Read below.
Chris Ware's new graphic novel "Building Stories" is made to order for game players with a literary bent. Call the game "Follow the Story Line - If you Can!" The author provides a pictograph on the bottom of this box full of treasureWare with, he says "suggestions as to [where] appropriately [to] set down, forget, or completely lose" its contents. Accepting the challenge, I cleared a space in my study and set about putting the pieces down as shown in the pictograph. In the process I discovered that Mr. Ware had pulled a couple of fast ones. It requires duplicates of four of the pieces to match all the images in the pictograph. Moreover, in my set, one of the pieces has no exact mate.
The story follows the protagonist from "wondering if she will ever move from the rented close quarters of lonely young adulthood to the mortgaged expanse of love and marriage". I'll call her "Chris" -- after the author because he gives her no name. So the trick is to match the pieces of Chris' life to its trajectory from young Chicago art student to Oak Park soccer Mom. It took a bit of doing to come up with the right order for placing the fourteen pieces in the trajectory. If you try it, leave a comment. It will be fun to see if we agree.Read more ›
What originally captivated me about Ware's work were his almost obsessive attention to detail, beautiful and precise artwork that didn't look too 'cartoonish' (whatever that means), and the digressions from the main storyline (frequently in the form of cut-outs and paper dolls, which from what I understand are actually accurate and do function as described--such as the stereoscope and 'library' bookshelf; though, I could never, ever bring myself to cut up a book, let alone one of Ware's). I can't say that I have a great grasp of Ware's work in the context of other graphic novels, as I have never been a particularly avid reader of the genre; however, this attests to the ability of Ware's work to cross these well-established (and often dismissed) boundaries. To simply call Building Stories a graphic novel, a book, a novel, a comic, or really any one genre would be a great injustice that ignores what I believe a currently unparalleled form. A reader does not have to consider him or herself a fan of any of a particular genre to enjoy Building Stories; it is the story of memory, loss, trauma, and how these manifest themselves in everyday life that should draw readers into its pages.Read more ›
If you're looking for your first Ware Book the Jimmy Corrigan collection is an excellent place to start.
As noted above, this is a masterpiece, plainly. Both in form and content, and also -no less relevant- in execution.
Chris Ware has established himself as one of the masters of the ancient art of the graphic story (there is not in our language quite an appropriate term for it like in french: "band desinee"), but here he has surpassed himself.
This is an exceptional achievement at the level of Maus or Valentina, Sacco's work or Perramus, works that redefined the medium. Many a reader has been fascinated by the fragments of this story that were published earlier, but here in its final and complete form, Ware goes one step further down a path he himself opened long ago, developing a critical component, a meta-commentary on the act of reading itself that qualifies Building Stories as a brilliant breakthrough. It should be noted by the way, that the consistency of tone both narrative and graphic is not a limitation like a previous reviewer suggested, but rather a crucial link that ties together all parts as a single piece.
I'll say it again, this is a towering achievement, a masterwork.
And as it has been said in another review, the price is completely ridiculous. If the art of graphic literature was given its just place in this crazy business that art has become in our times, we would be paying not three or four times more, like any decent art book would cost, but probably a quite few thousand dollars.
Get it now!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of the best thing Ive read it years. It boggles my mind how Chris Wares wrote this thing even with the help of a million editors.Published 1 month ago by Ian
Chris Ware is a true genius and this is a masterpiece. To call it 'comics' or even a 'graphic novel' is similar to... well, imagine what follows. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Aaron Ximm
Chris Ware's artwork is a devastatingly accurate view of the human condition.Published 7 months ago by J Smith