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Comment: EX-LIBRARY, clean copy with light wear. Has light wear on the cover, edges and corners. Binding is tight. Ex-library book, with library markings, features, and stamps. This item ships promptly from Amazon's warehouse with tracking, 24/7 customer service, and no-hassle returns. Eligible for Amazon's Free Super Saver Shipping and Prime programs.
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A Few Perfect Hours ... and Other Stories from Southeast Asia and Central Europe Paperback – September, 2004

5 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Neufeld and his girlfriend, Sari, have traveled all over the world, and like all travelers, they've come back with stories. Unlike most travelers, though, Neufeld makes a point of trying to understand what these stories mean, why he reacts to his experiences the way he does and what results from the friction between his own culture and the cultures where he's a tourist. That comes to a head in this work's final tale, "Cremations, Cubicles & Cant," in which Neufeld considers the death and funeral of his grandmother in the context of his travels, and the significance of funeral rites within and outside her community. In another story, Neufeld tries to imagine his uneasy interaction with a Serbian ice cream salesman from the other man's perspective. The book's highlight is "The Cave of Fear," a story about a day trip in Thailand. Neufeld is drawn to the trip's potential for danger, and what might ordinarily be a merely entertaining anecdote becomes the occasion for lucid, unsparing self-examination. Neufeld draws himself as a slightly neurotic caricature, and his backgrounds show how salient details can be reduced to a few clear lines. He has an appealingly clean visual style and uses it to highlight the differences between his tourist self and his surroundings.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Travel sometimes figures in other autobiographical comics, but Neufeld, with a few written contributions by his companion, Sari Wilson, here pioneers the travel book in comics. In the early 1990s, when he and Wilson were in their mid-twenties, they backpacked in Southeast Asia and later, during a year in Prague, in Central Europe. Although Neufeld offers some illustrated "travel tips"--on such nitty-gritty topics as "Bathing in the Tropics" and "Gynecology on the Go" (a Wilson piece)--the book is far more valuable as a memoir than for its tourist information. Unencumbered by group-travel agendas and timetables, the couple had genuine adventures. They spelunked, dangerously, and overnighted with Baptist missionaries (Neufeld and Wilson are very secular Jews) in Thailand; farm-labored for an evening in Malaysia; were extras in a Singapore TV show; and served as English-practice-givers for an ice-cream man on a hot train laid over in Belgrade. Neufeld's comics style is straightforwardly presentational, with few odd angles and broad variation in the amount of detail rendered, which seems perfect for this material. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Alternative Comics (September 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1891867792
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891867798
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.5 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,718,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Josh Neufeld is a comics journalist known for his graphic narratives of political and social upheaval, told through the voices of witnesses. He is the writer/artist of the bestselling nonfiction graphic novel A.D.: NEW ORLEANS AFTER THE DELUGE (Pantheon). In addition, he is the illustrator of the bestselling graphic nonfiction book THE INFLUENCING MACHINE: BROOKE GLADSTONE ON THE MEDIA (W.W. Norton). He was a 2013 Knight-Wallace fellow in journalism at the University of Michigan. Neufeld is a Xeric Award winner, and his work has been nominated for a number of other awards, including the Eisner and the Harvey. His books have been translated into French, Italian, and Dutch. Neufeld's illustrations have appeared in such publications as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., with his wife and daughter. To learn more, visit www.JoshComix.com.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is an education for travelers (note: even the armchair sort). While the subtext for the reader is a couple figuring out distant places with common sense, intellect, and humor (in outstanding drawings that fill each frame!!!), the real draw is in the lovingly rendered and often hilarious details of a Sri Lankan airplane and it's passengers, a Balinese bathroom, a perilous underground cave, and a Singapore Soap Opera set that is supposed to represent Chinatown, NYC (my personal favorite), just to name a few. This book would be a great gift for a graduate (either high school or college). It is a first rate introduction to the real joys and challenges of shoe string travel, and it is chock full of useful information(!). It made me smile and laugh out loud many times as memories flooded back to me about my own many wide eyed trips. It is aptly titled for the quest of it's author, and for the pleasure it gives the reader.
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Format: Paperback
Much will be (and has already been) said about Josh Neufeld's journey -- spiritual, emotional, physical, and otherwise -- as he depicts it in this insightful compilation (and indeed it is highly satisfying for a reader to observe -- as a voyeur safely removed from the frequent moral quandaries one faces when travelling abroad -- Josh's struggles while schlepping his American-bred presumptions around the globe). But as gratifying as these anecdotes might be, what really stikes me the most is his journey as an artist. Here is not simply the chronicles of a young man and his adventures in a comic book format, it's also the chronicles of an artist: years of experimentation, study, and refining a singular vision and style. This book did not happen overnight. Look closely, and you'll recognize the Life of The Comic Book Artist -- hidden behind the stories, Josh has provided us with a glimpse of how much art and an artist can change over time, even if ever so subtly. Having read much of his other works, I can now appreciate even more the times he has discussed his stylistic choices, because this book contains it all -- the whole kit and caboodle at my fingertips. So, keeping in mind Josh's own self-analyses from earlier years, I can now smile and laugh even harder when I see Josh in a tight bodysuit or Sari's tiny little feet (p. 61, "How to Star in a Singaporean Soap Opera"). Hergé would be proud...
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Format: Paperback
"A Few Perfect Hours" isn't the kind of work you can easily peg: A graphic novel, it's also the kind of compelling travel writing that takes you on a journey both inside and beyond yourself, to off-the-beaten-path adventures in countries that no longer exist precisely the way they did when Josh & his wife Sari once traveled the globe. The result is a journey in time as well as one between borders. With pieces ranging from humorous to thought-provoking, Neufeld shows he is as capable of fascinating us with his writing as he is with his illustrations. Both bear up to several visits. In fact, it might be worth reading the whole book through once for the stories, again for the visuals, and at least once more to explore how the two interact.

A tip-off to the care he took inside, Neufeld packaged his work in an impressive form (paper, ink, and front and back matter) that makes "A Few Perfect Hours" a beautiful book that stands apart on the shelf. The result is a very readable, rewarding graphic novel that would be equally perfect tucked in a backpack or lying on a coffeetable.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a lovely book! The title conveys the sense perfectly. These finely drawn stories capture the moments any traveller will recognize, when throwing yourself at the mercy of the world leaves you exposed not only to things mind-blowingly new but also to your own template--sensory memories, childhood perceptions, early hurts and wonderings. Any reader who is interested in travel will appreciate this book, whether or not she usually likes comics. A FEW PERFECT HOURS works on so many levels, I've found myself leaving it out and turning to it again and again.
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Format: Paperback
An unusual comic, nuanced with plenty of broad strokes to keep you off guard. I read it in one sitting, but I actually tried to slow myself down because I didn't want it to end. You really end up feeling like you know Josh and Sari. This is a wonderful book, perfect for stocking stuffers.
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