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Carnet De Voyage (Travel Journal (Top Shelf)) Paperback – August 3, 2004

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Product Details

  • Series: Travel Journal (Top Shelf) (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions (August 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1891830600
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891830600
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #376,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"They say 'Wherever you go, there you are....' I thought with Morocco, I'd be setting out on some exotic adventure, but it turns out I'm just a simple, quiet fellow." So writes Thompson in this travel sketchbook chronicling two months of wandering through Africa and Europe, sometimes as tourist, sometimes as a famous cartoonist on tour. Rather than a narrative follow-up to the award-winning Blankets, this diary reveals both Thompson's creative strengths and weaknesses. Although more or less spontaneous, the book still shapes the material into something of a narrative, the continuing themes being Thompson's self-conscious love of beauty, his sense of isolation and the gradual physical deterioration of his hands due to arthritis and over-drawing. Thompson is honest enough to confront his own self-absorption (he makes constant references to his own whininess), but this recognition reveals that Blankets' naïveté is more studied than it first appears. Many of the elements that made Blankets so successful are here, not least among them Thompson's incredible, lush line-work and telling detail. Every person he meets is captured with a keen eye and a lively brush, and entries such as one recounting his fascination with Gaudí's architecture in Barcelona, or a day spent with fellow cartoonist Blutch discussing artistic muses, are both thought provoking and touching.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–In 2004, the author, a cartoonist from Oregon, traveled to Europe on a book-signing tour, with a side trip to Morocco. Rather than writing a conventional journal, he kept notes in the form of drawings and cartoons. He shows readers how he was met in France by friends, fans, and publisher representatives, and tells of larking about–finding magic, meaning, and synchronicity–in Paris and the countryside. When he moved on to Morocco, his experience was darker as he struggled to relate to a more alien and less-welcoming culture. There he encountered everything from homesickness to diarrhea to fractured conversations, but in time he saw more of the country and learned how to get around. Back in Europe, he continued his book tour in Geneva and Barcelona, and saw the Alps and the south of France. Along with images of people and places, he shares, with winningly self-deprecating humor, his interior journey of emotional ups and downs. Black-and-white images range in style from realistic sketches to surrealistic riffs to funny cartoons, sometimes working together visually and thematically to create layers of depth and to amplify a point. Combined with telegraphic captions, the art captures to perfection and with a great sense of immediacy what it's like to be young and on one's own on a foreign adventure. By turns lighthearted and profound, Carnet is an illuminating and charming experience that should have broad appeal.–Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

CRAIG THOMPSON's previous graphic novels include Blankets (for which he received three Harvey Awards for Best Artist, Best Graphic Album of Original Work, and Best Cartoonist; and two Eisner Awards for Best Graphic Album and Best Writer/Artist); Goodbye, Chunky Rice; and Carnet de Voyage. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Customer Reviews

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Art flows out of Thompson's brush pens with the organic fluidity of a true master.
Pops Gustav
My only complaint is that the ending was rather abrupt - okay there was a deadline, but still, that could have been handled better.
Recommended to anyone interested in travel and anyone interested in the world of comics and graphic novels.
A. Lundquist

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Edward Juan on August 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
Before I purchased this book I expected it to be like his previous two graphic novels with an narrative storyline (Goodbye Chunky Rice, Blankets). Instead you get a diary collection of his journey in Europe as an artist. Though in the book he explains the purpose of his trip is to promote Blankets, and he did go through many interviews and photo shoots. But in this trip he brings the reader to a mature side of himself, whereas he shows his impression with other artists in Europe. With his skillful brushworks, Thompson is able to draw out little glimpses of culture and people of his visit. Overall I recommand this book to anyone that is interest in art or already an artist themselves. You'll find drawing in a sketchbook everyday is an illustration of your life, just like what Craig Thompson is able to share in this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Pops Gustav on April 9, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Craig Thompson's epic 600 page graphic novel, BLANKETS is one of the most beautiful comics I've ever read. I was astounded at the breadth and depth of the book and wondered how someone in his mid twenties could have crafted such a massive achievement so early in his career.

With the publication of CARNET DE VOYAGE, I now understand a little bit more about Thompson's work habits... he is a nonstop drawing machine. But no... machine is wrong... there's nothing mechanical about his work. Art flows out of Thompson's brush pens with the organic fluidity of a true master. He may well be the greatest natural cartoonist of his generation... hell, even a handful of others.

CARNET DE VOYAGE wasn't even supposed to be a book. While traveling through France, Barcelona, the Alps and Morocco last Spring to promote BLANKETS, Thompson's omnipresent sketchbook suddenly became his next project. In his introduction, the typically self-effacing artist dismisses it as "a rather self-indulgent side project."

Yes, there's lots of self-indulgence, but no more than any other writer or artist's work is self indulgent. Smarting from a recent breakup, suffering from crippling rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated by nonstop signings, sketches and portraits of locals (many of whom demand money for the privilege of being models), Thompson's travelogue is filled with the kind of subjective experience that's only interesting to others if it's told well.

And in CARNET DE VOYAGE, it's told beautifully. Mixing his two styles, the cartoony whimsy of GOODBYE, CHUNKY RICE with the more naturalistic impressionism of BLANKETS, Thompson allows us to experience everything he does: The homesickness, the culture shock, the thrill of the new and the comfort of other people.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
Carnet de Voyage includes an introductory page in which Craig Thompson warns prospective readers that what follows really is a travel diary, not a follow-up to Blankets. If that's all you're expecting, you won't be disappointed. The book is beautifully and sensitively illustrated, and features a few genuinely touching moments. I particularly enjoyed the times when Thompson inserted a little cartoon companion into the narrative to comfort him when he was feeling alone and out of place. His accounts of culture shock in Morocco were also interesting and should open the eyes of anyone with excessively romantic views about the developing world.

Still, the book could have been better. Thompson hints at painful events and family problems at home without elaborating, and he also glosses over the Madrid train bombings in just a couple of pages. The book then ends abruptly when arthritis forces Thompson to cut back on his writing, and I think even he would agree that this aborted work isn't all he hoped it would be. But Carnet de Voyage certainly is still worth reading while you await Thompson's next real book. And you won't regret it if you allow this little travel diary to persuade you to plan a trip to Barcelona yourself.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kate on October 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is another wonderful Craig Thompson creation, beautifully executed and divinely imaginative travelogue of his trip around Morrocco, Spain, Paris etc for a book tour and to research his new comic.

As he suggests early in the work, this is not a follow on from his comics. It is not even like his glorious comics, but more like the gorgeous illustrated travelogues of Dan Price and Danny Gregory.

His drawings are just so detailed and fine, it is little wonder he suffers from debilitating joint problems. Everything he draws has little florishes, and I particularly thought some drawings of Gaudi's work in Barcelona were marvellous. His voice is kind and gentle, softly grateful and charming. At times it strikes me as too 'American', but he is conscious of the reputation of American travellers, and this does not really hinder the work. However, I did find his focus on women a little too repetitive for my liking.

I suppose this was where I was most disappointed with the work. While the trip seemed to be about pinning for a faraway love, he ended up sleeping with a random stranger at the end, which to me, seemed to undermind his whole purpose. It is not my place to criticise, it just confused things somewhat for me as a reader and responder, regardless of the fact that this is a personal account and I wondered to myself what he came away with at the end of this adventure.

And as another reviewer has suggested, it does end quite randomly, and is quite short. I would have liked to seen what followed.

However, the pictures potentially have hours of observation, with their detailed beauty. Irrespective of any perceived flaws, it is worthwhile and fascinating.
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