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Empire State: A Love Story (or Not) Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Abrams ComicArts (May 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810997479
  • ASIN: B0078XPQPG
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 6.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,566,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Jimmy's first crush/best friend Sara has moved to New York to encounter the wider world. So Jimmy, a socially awkward man-child who likes reading hard sci-fi (the kind with rocket ships) and has no idea what a latte is, embarks on a perilous bus trip from his home in Oakland to Brooklyn to profess his love to her. He soon learns that the only thing worse than sharing a small bus with random ex-cons comparing notes on their prison experiences is crashing on a couch in a small Brooklyn apartment with Sara and her new boyfriend, Mark. Sara and Mark do their best to welcome Jimmy to the grown-up world, showing him different parts of the city and trying to broaden his limited horizons, but there's a real question as to whether their gentle coaching will take. Shiga (Meanwhile, Double Happiness) walks a fine line between sappy rom-com and maudlin love-lost tale, but largely succeeds in maintaining a balanced middle. He's aided by a crude yet geometric penciling style that draws the reader very effectively into Jimmy's point of view. He also displays a wicked sense of comic timing, which is equally effective at portraying awkward pauses and slapstick physicality. (May)
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About the Author

Jason Shiga is the creator of the bestselling graphic novel Meanwhile. Shiga won the 2003 Eisner Award for Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition. He lives in Oakland, California.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
The only aspect I did not care for are the short, squat character designs.
Sibelius
I have heard better things about the author's other works, but after this misery I will deliberately avoid them.
Thomas Eliot
I guess if your a fan of autobiographical works, this is worth checking out, but it wasn't to my taste.
A. Ross

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. O. Aptowicz on April 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As you may have gleaned from the handful of graphic novels I've reviewed before, I'm a sucker for autographical comics. And while the protagonist in Jason Shiga's latest book, "Empire State" is named Jimmy Yee -- and thus, clearly, this is not a strict autobiography -- you can't help but think that it based in real life.

The story follows Jimmy, an often awkward but very endearing guy sitting in a crossroads of his life. As he tries to figure out what to do next, his fixates on Sara -- a fellow nerd who is savvier than Jimmy and has recently left the Bay area (where they were both from) to reboot her life in New York City. The results for Jimmy are decidedly mixed, but nonetheless honest.

But there is a sweet wonder to this journey that Jimmy goes on. He approaches life with a surprisingly open heart and with the same senseless hope we all did when we were younger. I laughed at loud -- with sympathy! -- when Jimmy is secretly thrilled that a New York cusses in front of him ("Just like in Goodfellas" he can't help but exclaim) or when he explains that he decided to take a six day bus ride from Oakland to NYC because he "thought it would be a nice to see the country, traveling town to town..." And then sighed -- again, with sympathy -- when he explained he thought growing up would be like easier, that he'd "go off to some college on the East Coast for four years and then return knowing everything there is to know about the world."

Sara is a great foil for Jimmy, giving him hope, humor & firm swats on the immaturity when he needs it. And I love how Shiga tells the edits his story -- giving time & space for the sweet moments and the awkward ones too, but also flipping around the timeline, keeping the reader on the edge of the story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I came across "Double Happiness" years ago, and have been a big Jason Shiga fan ever since, especially with his "Fleep," and "Meanwhile." Those books featured really unique concepts behind them, often with the feel of some kind of mathematical brain-teaser. He also adds in humor and a bit of cute and funny autobiographic-esque details.

This book wasn't bad, I just didn't think it had the spark of the author's best books. The basic concept seems fun enough: a sweet, naive protagonist with a penchant for romantic movies tries to do a romantic-movie gesture in real life. But it didn't draw me in, and I left the book thinking there wasn't all that much to it. I dunnow, perhaps I miss the more high-concept nature of the author's other stories.

One thing I liked was the details of Oakland' Lake Merritt - having been to the area many times, it's fun to see accurate sketchings in the background from various vantages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrew C Wheeler VINE VOICE on January 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Shiga is one of the mad geniuses of comics; his Meanwhile is one of the most mind-blowing explorations of causality and connection around, in a format that only comics could facilitate. (It's also recently become an app, which I haven't tried yet.) And his Bookhunter is nearly as awesome, a CSI-ish tongue-in-cheek adventure story of library cops and the fiends they pursue.

EMPIRE STATE is a smaller, more personal story than either of those; it's based loosely on Shiga's own life, and follows Jimmy, a quiet, stagnating guy in his mid-twenties, living in his native Oakland with his mother. His best friend, Sara -- whom he transparently pines for, though she either ignores or doesn't notice it -- has just moved to Brooklyn. So Jimmy writes her a romantic-comedy letter and jumps on a bus to go visit her there, hoping for the Hollywood happy ending. What follows is more like a gentler Adrian Tomine story; Sara has moved on, but is still a good friend to Jimmy. And, maybe, this is what Jimmy needed to finally move out of his comfort zone and get going with his life.

Shiga tells his story quietly, alternating between red-hued chapters for the past and blue-tinted ones for "now," building a slow picture of Jimmy's happy but limited life and implying all of the things that he wants, since Jimmy can't say most of those things. It's not as flashy as MEANWHILE or BOOKHUNTER, but it's smarter about people than either of those books, showing an intriguing new depth to Shiga's work, and it's a lovely not-a-love-story.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved Shiga's other works much more. Personally, nothing so far has topped Meanwhile. This book isn't a total loss, it just didn't have that intense out-of-the-box feel like his other books do.
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By Stephanie A Brown on May 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I was enchanted by this little tale. I thought the simple art and color scheme really went along with the story.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Yes, the story is somewhat tropey, but that's intentionally by design. And yes, it is very simplistically designed compared to Shiga's other crazier works, but it's still very meaningful.

"Empire State" is more about stripping away most of Shiga's usually tricks and attempting to really focus on very specific moments. He uses formal techniques that, while demonstrating narrative beats that could only work in comics, don't obstruct the reader's enjoyment of the comic. It's much more subtle than his other works, but it's just as formally driven as anything else he's made, he just chooses not to rub it in your face.

I am a really big fan of Shiga. "FLEEP" is probably my favorite work of his for its manic pacing and craziness. But "Empire State" is, so far, the only Shiga book that gets more beautiful the more I read it.
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