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Discordia: Six Nights in Crisis Athens [Kindle Edition]

Laurie Penny , Molly Crabapple
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

DISCORDIA is a story of courage and collapse in a country and a culture struggling to map out its future. A short ebook combining a 24,000-word essay with 36 detailed drawings, DISCORDIA is a feminist-art-gonzo-journalism project conceived at Occupy Wall Street and created in the summer of debt and doubt after the euphoric street protests of 2011-2012.

In July 2012, artist Molly Crabapple and journalist Laurie Penny travelled to Greece. There, they drew and interviewed anarchists, autonomists, striking workers and ordinary people caught up in the Euro crisis. DISCORDIA is the result. In an impassioned climate where ‘objective’ journalism is impossible, Penny and Crabapple offer a snapshot of a nation in the grip of a very modern crisis where young and old see little reason to go on, the left is scattered and the far right is assuming greater power and influence. Along the way they drink far too much coffee, become hypnotised by street art, and somehow manage not to get arrested or mugged.

DISCORDIA is an experiment in form, using the illustrated ebook format to its fullest extent to tell a story unique to the wordlength and digital platform involved. Crabapple's intricate, Victorian-inspired ink drawings lend a timeless quality to what is a conscious foray into a new kind of journalism - inspired by the New Journalism of the 1970s, in particular the art-journalism collaborations of Hunter Thompson and Ralph Steadman, but reworking that tradition for a 21st century world where young women must still fight at every turn to be taken seriously.

DISCORDIA weaves together the personal and political, picking out those elements of the Greek crisis that are recognisable across the West to a generation struggling to articulate its purpose in a world of spiralling unemployment, democratic collapse and civil unrest. The solutions to the failure of modern neoliberal statecraft are very different to the 'tune in, turn on, drop out' ethos of the sixties: these days the drugs are worse and rock 'n' roll can't save us. The future is a question in search of an answer.

Available only digitally, with a foreword by economic journalist and writer Paul Mason, this beautifully illustrated ebook is part-polemic, part-travelogue and part-paean to the birthplace of civilization brought to its knees. Part of the Brain Shot series, the pre-eminent source of short form digital non-fiction.

'This is the Next Big Thing in journalism: digital, visual, intelligent, heartfelt, post-political, female, alarming, and engaging. It's both an honest chronicle of one corner of the collapse of a civilization, and an inspiring demonstration of the kinds of thinking, craft, and collaboration that might yet get us through.' Douglas Rushkoff, author of LIFE INC.

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this Book October 2, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I wish I could write as well as Laurie Penny does so that I could give this book the review it deserves. I loved reading "Discordia". I found it engrossing, informative and easy to stick with. It gave me a lot of insight into a problem I knew little about. I wish I could make it required reading for the US Congress. The illustrations were beautiful and added a great deal to the story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
DISCORDIA is a boots-on-the-ground fever-pitch hell-run through Athens during the Austerity Riots post "everything went to shit with the world economy day" (which day that was, you can pick landed on different days in the US and in Europe, but it certainly did happen). Laurie Penny writes captivating prose, interviews the people affected within the Greek population, and raises proper concerns about the rise of the kind-of-almost-Police-State that is enforcing these Austerity limits upon the populace. Molly Crabapple livens up the prose with fantastic capture-the-moment sketches, giving flesh and weight to Penny's prose. This is writing of the highest water, notable, gripping, and ringing with authenticity. This is the writing that Hunter S. Thompson would have been doing if he were A) of this generation; and B) if drugs were not so good. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly delicious! October 4, 2012
By Charles
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Even though I have only just started reading this book, I had to stop and say something because I am just loving it so far. Laurie Penny's prose and Molly Crabapple's illustrations make me imagine a sort of contemporary Alice in Wonderland, told in a voice not unlike William Gibson, and drawn with an observational wit in the spirit of Tenniel. This would be reason enough to make it worth reading, but the fact that the characters, events and situations are real and current makes it important. The book is not, and does not claim to be "fair and impartial". Most contemporary news organizations brag that they are, but I am not aware of any that actually deliver on that boast. The alternative to the impossible ideal of "fair and impartial" is to share a tale based on the honest impressions on your eyes and heart, refracted by the biases and beliefs of the writer and artist, in addition to those of the reader. When a friend tells a story, you know that it is colored by their attitudes and beliefs. You accept it in that context, and apply your own filters of belief as well. I am finding it refreshing and informative to see what Laurie and Molly, whom I know just a bit from their social media presence, thought and felt about their travels through history as it happens. Ok enough gushing, back to the book. Thank you L+M!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant look at crisis-era Greece December 30, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Well worth the ridiculously low price. Penny's writing is smart, wry, lyrical. For activists around the world who rejoiced in Occupy Wall Street and Tahrir Square and are now wondering what happens next, here are the insights you need-- they are as dark as the situation, but always there is an undercurrent of hope. Crabapple's drawings are raw and real, drawing on the graffiti of Athens for inspiration. Read this, please.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important stuff October 18, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I didn't know very much about the current situation in Greece before I read this, but I knew a bit about both the authors, and I knew that I took what they said seriously. Now that I've read the book I can absolutely understand why the authors felt it was important to write it. All we hear about is the need to impose austerity if we're to keep Europe on an even keel. Having read this book I'm far more concerned with what austerity is doing to the fabric of Greek society, the kind of social upheavals it's creating, the mess it's making of their country. It's not just unfair that those who had least to do with the debt crisis are the ones who we're told have to suffer the most to fix it, it's actually dangerous. So many people have had their stake in society taken away that they're starting to do desperate (though predictable) things. The parallels with the rise of Fascism in pre-WWII Germany are spelled out and it does not seem in anyway an inappropriate analogy. Fascist gangs roaming the streets beating up foreigners and gay people without fear of police interference is something Europe has seen before.

The authors have made no attempt to keep the book dispassionate. It's a personal journey, something of a travelogue, full of opinions and character. That suited me very well and made this short book very easy to read. Ms. Penny's writing style is also one I find very competent and agreeable. If for some reason you don't like either the personalised writing style or the personality of the authors themselves then you may not like this book. But personally I think we need more like it. And I hope Laurie Penny in particular writes more like it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Harmony of Discordia October 11, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When one reads about the Greek debt crisis in the news, it's usually swathed with talks of rioting, protesting, and violence - followed by statistics and a growing number of billions of euro the country owes. You hear about government officials attempting to enforce austerity on its population - phrases like 'complete economic meltdown' are thrown around constantly. All these detached stories fail to capture the soul and emotion of Greece's population.

Laurie and Molly, versed in capturing civil uprisings, bestow us with a work that is eye opening, visceral and gives us a picture of Greece from a more human perspective - a narrative of human spirit and triumph amongst a climate of fear and violence. We get stories from citizens in a hot Athens from all walks of life: journalists, mental health workers, anarchists and immigrants.

Laurie offers us a glimpse into the mind of a guerrilla journalist, called by some part of her self to tell the story no one else wants to, in prose that is emotive and clear. Facing arrest, violence and the crushing reality of a failing civilization, she endures and muses about the state of journalism and big media in the world.

Molly's illustrations are hauntingly beautiful and are described by her partner as 'neo-Victorian'. Each rendering tells a story which would otherwise be unnoticed as some of the places they went are secluded 'anarchist' zones and don't allow photos.

Gazing into these renderings, one can't help but notice their heliocentric aspects. It's as if Apollo is amidst each portrait, lurking as an anchor, holding the subject together in the composition.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and illustrating (illustrated) book.
Great account of the protests in Greece from a fantastic point of view, with amazing illustrations, they complete the tale.
Published 1 month ago by Oscar Falcon Lara
5.0 out of 5 stars Please read this book.
If you don't know the names Laurie Penny and Molly Crabapple you will never forget them once you have read/viewed this book - read the deeply personal text by Penny and viewed the... Read more
Published 9 months ago by CB in AK
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent analysis for two non-Greeks
It was very brave of the two authors to approach this issue. There is no doubt that they were both adequately aware of the issues before starting their venture. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Costas
5.0 out of 5 stars In Athens the elections are over and so are the riots.
Penny and Crabapple blend their considerable talents in this simple and powerful account of a nation falling into darkness. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Fouch
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh, real and readable. Well done and highly recommended.
This is a great book full of honest commentary, adventure and a refreshing, undeniable realness. The art is great and ranges from rapid, messy sketching to some really beautiful... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Blair Wotton
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent writing, vibrant art.
Excellent writing, vibrant art. It's an opinionated (left-leaning) description of crisis-struck Athens, but Laurie Penny still manages to give all the details and be critical of... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Dimitrios Raptis
3.0 out of 5 stars Of interest to fans
This book will be of interest to fans of the author, and or the illustrator, but for everyone else it won't stand as much more than a novelty. Read more
Published 22 months ago by eric talerico
4.0 out of 5 stars Discordant, dystopic, delightful
As a journalist who's watched Laurie Penny's unique take on street-level dissent evolve quickly, from among the protesters in London, New York and now Athens, it's fantastic to see... Read more
Published 24 months ago by Markham Nolan
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
As someone who's been frustrated by the lack of media coverage of the situation in Greece, I was delighted to find Discordia. Read more
Published on October 16, 2012 by Amazon Customer
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