Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Big Questions Paperback – August 16, 2011
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“Nilsen is an exquisite draftsman with incredible patience for textures.” ―Glen David Gold, Los Angeles Times on Anders Nilsen
“Anders Nilsen must be a genius.” ―Giant Robot on Anders Nilsen
“Nilsen uses spare renderings to create a haunting narrative that will leave you wondering whether you've read a book or walked through a dream.” ―The Washington Post on Anders Nilsen
About the Author
Anders Nilsen was born in New Hampshire and now lives in Chicago. He has a BFA in painting and illustration from the University of NewMexico in Albuquerque. He is the author of Dogs and Water and Don't Go Where I Can't Follow.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Big Questions is an anthropomorphic animal tale, of course, and the real joy comes in seeing the world as these birds do. The birds are endearing, asking simple questions - sometimes they are insightful, but other times they misunderstand the world, and people, in spectacular ways. Ultimately this leads us through a journey that is beautiful, poetic, and often surreal. The illustrations provide an outstanding complement, typically delicate black lines on seas of white.
I got the hardcover, and I will mention one flaw - the binding already had a crease where it'd been opened. However, I got a signed copy, 500-ish out of 1000, so I like to think the author damaged the binding personally. In all honesty, it's a hefty book at about 650 pages, you'll have a hard time not creasing your binding. I also think you'll keep it at home; too heavy to carry around. Still, it is an absolutely stunning book - thick pages and a gorgeous cover; definitely a prized member of my collection.
At the novel's beginning, drifting through a vast, grassy field populated with a cast of aimless, philosophizing birds--each so visually indistinguishable from the next that I was constantly flipping to the characters index to make sense of who was whom--it seemed as though Big Questions was a series of amusing but unrelated sketches, more a comics anthology than an overarching narrative. The arrival of a dropped bomb, however, jumpstarts Big Questions into full, sprawling-story gear. For some of the birds, the bomb becomes a mystic sign from on-high, and they quickly form an increasingly dangerous cult dedicated to its protection. Other birds find their own obsessions, like Algernon who searches for his missing wife and soon finds himself captive in one of Nilsen's most beautifully rendered spaces: a labyrinth-like snake's den that plunges ever deeper into the earth, hiding at its nadir a mysterious, avian underworld. As the birds discover their callings and forge their alliances, they are pulled into conflict with one another in moments of startling and brutal violence.
Unlike Watership Down, the classic Richard Adams novel Nilsen seems to be channeling, Big Questions derives its existential horror not from its characters' endless fight to survive but from the needlessness of their suffering. Whereas Watership Down's rabbits searched continually for a peaceful warren, Nilsen's birds already live in a paradise of plentiful food and few predators. Their wars, their betrayals, and their misery are the product not of Darwinian struggle but of conflicting philosophies about the world they live in. (Literally philosophies: in one of Big Questions's most humorous moments, one of the birds struggles to articulate his understanding of the current situation and inadvertently summarizes Plato's Allegory of the Cave.)
Like us, the birds of Big Questions struggle to make meaning in a world they can't quite understand, inflicting a lot of pain and suffering on each other in the process. And like us too, their suffering leads still to heroism and self-sacrifice, no matter how pointless the cause. In Big Questions, Anders Nilsen has crafted an epic story spanning the full gamut of emotions--from wistful humor to breathtaking anguish and triumphant compassion--in a beautifully drawn work that asks the largest of questions through the smallest of creatures.