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Lucky Hardcover – November 28, 2006

4 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This collection of short stories lacks some of the artistic sophistication of most books from art comics publisher Drawn & Quarterly—the drawings are, in fact, about as bare bones as it gets—but it still manages to be completely engrossing. Paradoxically, the stories are interesting—even addictive—because Bell has such a flair for communicating a specific brand of postcollegiate ennui. Her day-to-day existence is a litany of dilapidated rental apartments, low-paying jobs, yoga classes and artistic frustration, but Bell's straightforward storytelling reveals a true poignancy amid the tedium. Far from being depressing, these snippets of daily life in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, N.Y., are comforting in their frankness and familiarity; by settling into the rhythm of the artist's daily life, the reader experiences the heft of small victories and simple pleasures. Never laugh-out-loud funny, brief tales of yoga roommate miscommunication, ignorant comics buyers, the anguish of nude modeling, and sex-obsessed, adolescent art students radiate good humor and are sure to resonate with a certain stripe of well-educated, underemployed 20-something comic reader. Lucky is yet another sophisticated, nuanced pleasure. (Sept.)
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From Booklist

Bell's autobiographical collection portrays concisely the trials, tribulations, and sweet successes of young adulthood and artistic maturation. An independent comics creator cited by her peers with an Ignatz Award for the serial version of this book, Bell takes readers along as she hunts doggedly for suitable living quarters in Brooklyn, fights depression that results from earning more as a nude model than as an artist, meets a series of fatuous potential and actual housemates, tries to sell her zines, takes unrewarding work with a commercially recognized cartoonist, and teaches art to children. Her tidy, black-ink images lay bare architectural oddities, human postures that are part of nonverbal communication, and perspectives ranging from the neophyte yoga practitioner caught in a knot to the surprisingly pleasant surroundings of an urban picnic. Further, her fantasy life is gently romantic and easy to enter. Her stories should appeal to pleased readers of Daniel Clowes or Adrian Tomine. They are palpably real and eloquently understated, with neither a wasted word nor an extra line. Francisca Goldsmith
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly (November 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 189729901X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1897299012
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #944,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gabrielle Bell was born in England and raised in California. In 1998 She began to collect her "Book of" miniseries (Book of Sleep, Book of Insomnia, Book of Black, etc), which resulted in When I'm Old and Other Stories, published by Alternative Comics. In 2001 she moved to New York and released her autobiographical series Lucky, published by Drawn and Quarterly. Her work has been selected for the 2007, 2009 and 2010 Best American Comics and the Yale Anthology of Graphic Fiction, and she has contributed to McSweeneys, Bookforum, The Believer, and Vice Magazine. The title story of Bell's book, "Cecil and Jordan in New York" has been adapted for the film anthology Tokyo! by Michel Gondry. Her latest book, The Voyeurs, is available from Uncivilized Books. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rhubarb on April 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book doesn't have an overall story, rather it is a quietly observant recording of the minutiae of the daily life of an artist in her 20's, in the ongoing dual struggle of getting by in NYC while pursuing goals - unerringly depicted in tender vignettes that are neither nostalgic, idealized or embittered.

I enjoyed it for all its little moments - which is what it basically is - a carefully drawn collection of many small moments. If there is any statement being made, it may be a reminder that small events are the stuff that make up the bulk of our lives - though not necessarily meaning we ourselves are small because of it, rather thats how things are. As for its humor, for the reader it often comes from the recognition of a certain type of subtle abandon & spontaneity - captured sweetly and accurately.
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Format: Hardcover
Unlike many of the autobio comics from the '90s which tend to read like fiction, Lucky is a journal in comics form. Gabrielle chronicled the various experiences she was going through over the course of a few months -- moves to multiple apartments, indecision regarding her boyfriend, tryouts at various jobs -- and the roller coaster of anxiety and relief she experienced during this time. The art has a wonderful clear line and is very expressive without having the characters "overact." (The other end of the spectrum would be Will Eisner's graphic novels such as The Building, Dropsie Avenue, New York, etc. I love Eisner's work dearly, but much of his graphic novels have characters acting with the physical flourishes of silent films stars.) Gabrielle and her friends/characters are shown naturalistically and because of that, we are connected in a more real way.

The narrative flows well. The book is a great read. Recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
The other day this popped up in my recommendations box on Amazon.com and reminded me that it's been a while since I'd read a graphic novel. Without checking to see what it was about, I added it to my requests queue at the public library and picked it up a couple days later.

My first impressions when I opened the book were unmoving. The illustrations were simple, and the panels were over-stuffed with narration. But only a few pages into it, my opinion shifted radically. Gabrielle Bell's cartoons--quirky and ironic vignettes on life as a struggling artist in New York--are simple and funny and honest. She has a good way of putting into words and pictures the strange and lovable details of everyday life. It all made me feel a little bit better about being a generally directionless twenty-something who can't seem to find a job. Certainly recommended.
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