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Monologues for Calculating the Destiny of Black Holes Paperback – January 15, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (January 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560979801
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560979807
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 4.9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,033,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The scribble-headed guy returns from Monologues for the Coming Plague (2006) and eventually interacts with a faceless guy who, first seen solo, immediately discards hair, collar, and the under-the-shirt pillow that initially made him look tubby. “I’m not me,” he says, “I’m someone else. I’m just masquerading as me.” A clean-up guy comes in, vacuums up faceless’ castoffs, and leaves. Faceless talks about a credit-card statement, watching reality shows, his psychologist and masseuse, going on Oprah, a note from his mother, getting locked in the bathroom by burglars, and digging a tunnel to a neighbor’s apartment with a soap dish. He digs in his pockets for the note. But, “Wait. This cartoon should have ended pages and pages ago.” He calls scribble-head for an explanation. There are 360 more pages of this, 31 of them mounting faceless on full-color aerial photos and maps. Other characters drop in, sometimes taking over for pages. The note is never completely forgotten. The only famous artworks that fascinate like Nilsen’s stream-of-consciousness, existential farces are Samuel Beckett’s absurdist comedies.


“Anders Nilsen's comics have the rare power to generate queasy laughter... Random cruelty, futility, ennui, and an implied assault on human complacency are the order of the day. When Nilsen wants you to feel his boredom, or taunt you for your own, he's merciless... Nilsen is a relentlessly interesting comics creator. ...I'm looking forward to his next performance in the wasteland.” (Byron Kerman - PLAYBACK:stl)

“Spare and scratchy where Nilsen's other work was detailed; loose and spontaneous where his other work was considered; and funny where his other work was melancholy. It's interesting to see the many influences that inform Monologues; there's a bit of absurdists like Ionesco, elements of Tom Stoppard's wit and philosophical musings, stream of consciousness dada in the style of Tristan Tzara, and oblique New Yorker type gags with the scratchy looseness of James Thurber and Saul Steinberg.” (Rob Clough)

“The only famous artworks that fascinate like Nilsen’s stream-of-consciousness, existential farces are Samuel Beckett’s absurdist comedies.” (Booklist)

“Anders Nilsen has placed himself alongside other young comic luminaries like Kevin Huizenga and Sammy Harkham...His beautiful meditations on grief and life after loss, have made his name one that readers can rely on for work that in not only good but also meaningful....definitely one of the more rewarding reading experiences of this very young year.” (Bryan Hood - Anthem)

“Anders Nilsen is a weird dude…[Monologues] help[s] cement his odd sensibilities and fantastic art…It’s a wild, gorgeous sketched ride from one of the more prominent members of the graphic novel elite.” (Jason Schueppert - Word on the Street)

“Anders Nilsen’s deceptively ordinary drawings are used here at first to depict the common theme of isolation, loneliness, dejection and alienation—all in a seemingly unremarkable narrative set of light pencil drawings and straightforward narrative device…the book stops talking with words, and shows pure graphic simplicity the degradation of the human soul….a progression of grotesque images which convey the impossible maze of our own minds.” (Dig Comics)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Frauenglas VINE VOICE on April 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a very innovative graphic novel. It's also an epic opus, coming in at 420 pages. Parts of this graphic novel appeared in a mini art comic book the author produced in 2005 called "Lists, Cartoons, Floorplan, Poem, Other". Other parts appeared in the 2002 mini art comic, "People and Dogs". Other parts appeared in the graphic novel anthology, MOME, in its Summer 2005 & Winter 2007 issues.
The artwork can at best be called minimalistic. It is just a couple of steps above plain stick figures. Even the text is minimal. Many pages are simply without any text & some show just one crudely drawn figure or other simple drawing. Yet, I loved this graphic novel! I raced through it, because I kept wanting to know what was coming next.
Who is the monologist? G-d? Satan? Jesus? A regular guy with delusions of grandeur? Who is the Robot? Or is it a Golem? Or is that G-d? What did that note from the mother say? Who is the mother? Mary? Is this a satire on government funding? A new flood? Destruction all over again? What does the floorplan show?
"Everything I needed to know I learned from beating people up and making them tell me."
"Our study is complete and the conclusion is inescapable: G-d both exists AND does not exist . . . at the SAME time! And he runs a jewelry outlet hot dog stand on State and Van Buren! AND he runs a Laundromat/Health Club/Daycare Center down on the south west side."
And so on and so on. How can the reader not get enthralled in this mystery?
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By DeAnna Hoffart on April 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I suggest to everyone with a sense of humor and a love for randomness, to read this book. And his other one
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