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The Building Opposite Paperback – May 15, 2007
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About the Author
Vanyda was born Vanyda Savatier October 8, 1979 in Lille, France of French / Laotian parents. After school she attended the Beaux-Arts at Tournai just across the border in Belgium - section Bandes Dessinee, 1999 - 2001. Whilst there, she formed, with friends, Bom Bom Prod. which released the first chapters of [i]The Building Opposite[/i] in its fanzine [i]PoRoPhore[/i]. Since leaving college she has persued her vocation and released a number of award winning books including the series [i]The Year Of The Dragon[/i] (Carabas) scripted by F. Duprat.
Top customer reviews
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I don't pretend to know what Vanyda loves or is drawn to, but I love the worlds she draws. And like Crumb, I am grateful for the times when she illustrates sexual and emotional desires in action.
The Building Opposite is the story of several occupants in the separate units of the same building. The graphic novel is as interested in portraying real emotional and visual tones as it is in portraying real plots.
When I read The Comics Journal reviews of graphic novels or comic books, I don't like how dismissive and insensitive some of the critics can be. I can live with critics who've never written a play being theatre critics. I can live with someone whose never published a novel being a literary critic. I can enjoy someone who has never written or directed a movie being a movie critic. But for sophisticated reasons, I have trouble with someone who has never written AND drawn a graphic novel being a graphic novel critic. A prerequisite to being allowed to write a negative critique of a graphic novel should be that the critic has already written, drawn, and published at least one graphic novel. That concludes my partially-intended-to-be-humorous, unreasonable, overstated, kind-of-off-topic-but-slightly-related rant for today.
This is not a normal American plot structure. While lines between "American Formulaic" and "Foreign" art forms continue to be less distiguishable and more overlapping, this graphic novel is delightfully "foreign" and "international" in many of the good ways lovers of "foreign" film and other foreign art forms enjoy. It has European and Asian strengths.
This novel could be enjoyed without reading a single dialogue balloon. It could be amazingly pleasant if it was viewed starting on the last page and thumbing backwards to the front. It works as a silent film as well as a "talkie," forwards or backwards, or jumping in out of sequence anywhere in between.
It easily coordinates multiple simultaneously running plots, like a modern film where usually there are a few major plot lines working together and ocassionally intersecting. This book intentionally does not try to fit into a single genre. I think the book intends to emphasize that comedies and tragedies are often occurring in close proximity to each other. The story highlights incredibly diverse levels of happiness, perspectives, and environments occurring to people living in the same building. The book naturally implies the question: What keeps this person from experiencing such a different reality from the person who lives just next door?
The book does not intend to neatly answer all the questions it raises. The book is not dependent on pointing all plots toward any singular Deus ex machina or epiphany.
The book is about the beauties of normal lives and the consequences of ordinary choices made by real people. And because this book is not designed to wrap things up into one simple message, I will avoid trying to summarize the intent of the book into one. But I can say this with gladness: If you love graphic arts, or if you love seeing calm, emotional, and moving portrayals of real lives, then I highly recommend owning this book so you can open it up at any page and enjoy it again and again.