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George Sprott: (1894-1975) Hardcover – May 26, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. First serialized in the New York Times Magazine, this exquisite extended version of the life of fictional Canadian TV personality George Sprott only adds to Seth's place as one of the form's masters. In the hours and moments before Sprott's death in 1975, the omniscient—and nameless—narrator flashes both backward to key moments in the TV man's life and forward to interviews conducted after Sprott's passing. After spending four years in seminary school, Sprott sets out to be, as he dubs himself, a gentleman adventurer, taking numerous trips to the Canadian Arctic and filming his exploits. After he lands his own television program, Northern Hi-Lights, in the '50s, Sprott spends the next 20-plus years (1,132 episodes) telling and retelling stories of his adventures with the Inuits. Along the way, we meet his long-suffering wife, Helen; employees of the Radio Hotel (where Sprott lived for the last 10 years of his life); and members of the Coronet Club (where he delivered regular and increasingly boring lectures). Musings by the man himself—on everything from modern life to food to loneliness—help to round out this portrait of a man who never seemed truly satisfied but somehow made do. Seth (Palookaville) manages to make what is essentially the story of one man's slow death into an often humorous rumination on the power of media, memory and loss. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

[Seth] is exceptionally gifted at evoking the passing of time and the stasis of space. (The Washington Post on Seth)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly; First Edition edition (May 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1897299516
  • ISBN-13: 978-1897299517
  • Product Dimensions: 12.2 x 0.7 x 14.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,088,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Richard C. Geschke VINE VOICE on July 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I would think almost everyone knows the classic story of George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life". George Bailey is rescued from committing suicide on Christmas Eve by Clarence the wingless angel. Mr. Bailey thought that the world would be a better place without him. With the help of the narrators Franklin and Joseph along with our wingless angel, we all see the real merit of George Bailey's life.
Seth's narrative graphic depiction of George Sprott's life can be the antithesis of "It's a Wonderful Life". Utilizing all the major events of George Sprott's life we see a graphic narrative which emanates sadness, lost opportunities, narcissism, and loneliness and yes fame. Yes George Sprott gains a rather local limited fame and makes many acquaintances but are they true friends? Seth goes back and forth in his multi-narratives in which we learn of what people saw and thought of George Sprott.
Unlike "It's a Wonderful Life", Seth does not do his story in chronological order. Rather Seth jumps to a disparity of years, not in order, to convey certain philosophies and points of order. You will see a man struggling for a life of meaning and unlike George Bailey, George Sprott does not have an angel to guide him.
In as much as Sprott does not lead the "hometown hero" life of Mr. Bailey, Seth offers the fact that all life, even less than fulfilling ones are worth living. Seth's use of graphics in showing a small Canadian town are, how can I say it, "Sethesque". His story line again in the narrative and graphic depictions are what Edward Hopper conveyed in his art. I don't have enough Stars!! Great graphic novella from Seth's hand!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joseph R. Knowles on March 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You pass people like George Sprott on the street every day, and you probably never give them a second look. He's a small-town TV star, well past his prime and soon to be relegated to the dustbin of history. He is ordinary, and his mark on the world would appear to be small. But no man is really ordinary, and each of us has a story to tell. George's story is not a hopeful one; in fact, it carries a load of regret and remorse. Some of the tale is told through the eyes of his colleagues and associates -- it's hard to call them friends -- and their words paint a fairly pathetic picture. But you will be touched and moved by it, I guarantee you. It's a quick read, marvelously illustrated in dark monochromatics. You'll treasure this and want to share it with anyone who has a conscience, anyone who has ever wondered about the value of a single, solitary life.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Charles M. Smith II on June 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't know what to say about this book, except that I was blown away by Seth again. Everything I've seen him do has been amazing, and this book is no exception. I hate to sound like a gushing fanboy, but Seth just amazes me.

This wonderful book follows the life of a fictional character from local Canadian TV history. George Sprott is not a perfect person, which only serves to make him more human. The story is told with such grace, and dignity.

The actual book is an art project all by itself. It is beautifully bound. The oversize pages really let Seth's artwork shine. The photographs of the cardboard models Seth made of some of the key buildings in the story were a nice surprise and really added to the overall atmosphere of the book.

If you like Seth, you've got to have this book. And if you've never heard of Seth, what rock have you been living under? You've got to check out this book to see what you've been missing.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Geoffrey James on December 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is an obvious attempt to make some quick cash by rubbishing the reputation of one of the best-loved figures of Canadian television. My father knew Sprott well and told me that he was actually far more clever than people made him out to be. That deal about sleeping on the set, for example. It was a GAG! Self-deprecatory humor. Sprott knew what he was about. But this "Seth" guy can't even get his facts straight. Look, if you want good information about Sprott, might I recommend the classic "Minute Biographies of Canadian Television Personalities" which covers Sprott's life with less detail much more accuracy.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the biggest book I have ever read. Literally. And Seth’s artwork laid out in this gigantic fashion with the pungent aroma of paper and ink wafting over you as you turn the gorgeous pages printed by Drawn and Quarterly is an absolute pleasurable experience. I picked up several of Seth’s books after having listened to The Virtual Memories podcast (www.http://chimeraobscura.com/vm/) interview with the artist.

As I was reading I immediately recognized that I had actually read these before, and it wasn’t until I finished the volume when I figured out why - the copyright page has a statement that it was originally serialized in the New York Times. I remembered reading it, loving it, and making sure I didn't miss a week of the NYT “Funny Pages.” Unfortunately, that section of the paper has long since dissolved, but Seth’s contribution to it was incredible. There is no other way to say it - this is simply the way that this story was meant to be digested. The book was so big that one had to be immersed into the world that the artist created - and while we can’t be transported to his miniature Palookaville in his basement, being completely isolated from the world in the pages of George Sprott is an incredible experience.

The piece tells the story of the life of a man who is a big fish in a small pond. He is frustrated and anxious at times, filled with regret and worry, and the execution and artwork is appropriate, engaging, and wholly immersive. The detail that the artist put into the city itself, and how the world revolved around this little man is believable and true, containing some of the most realistic and striking dialogue I have encountered in any work of art.

This book is a pleasure to read, to hold, and to practically dive in to.
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George Sprott: (1894-1975)
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