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The Cardboard Valise (Pantheon Graphic Library) Hardcover – March 15, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 19 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this winsomely haunting graphic novel from Katchor—whose weekly strips have been collected into The Jew of New York and Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer, among others—an overstuffed suitcase becomes a ripe, comic metaphor for modern life. Set in a world tilted about 45 degrees away from reality, Katchor's story follows a number of characters through their quirky obsessions, each of which highlights a uniquely curious take on modernity. A hunt in the "Saccharine Mountains" turns a BLT into a tongue-in-cheek metaphor ("the lettuce symbolizes the cost of living"), while the citizens of "Outer Canthus" each undergo a symbolic funeral at the age of 47, after which they are "allowed to shed the burden of responsibility." In this slurry of sketchy and gray-tinged surrealism, the titular valise stands out with a certain haunting magic: a cheap and disposable thing (Katchor tracks its construction and sale with a curiously socioeconomic exactitude) that can contain multitudes. Once its contents are unleashed upon the hopelessly modernized island nation of Tensint (Katchor relentlessly skewers affected bourgeois quests for "authenticity"), things go downhill fast—it's the end of the world writ small. Rarely have books that made this little sense made so much sense. (Feb.)
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Review

 (starred review) In this winsomely haunting graphic novel from Katchor. . . Set in a world tilted about 45 degrees away from reality . . .  Rarely have books that made this little sense made so much sense. (Feb.) --Publisher's Weekly

Katchor . . . does what every great artist does: clarifies things you knew but didn't know you knew, or didn't know how to articulate. Spend some time with his work, and then take a walk.  --Newsweek

Ben Katchor is the best world-builder in comics today. --The Comics Journal

". . .  a work of great beauty and eccentricity . . . [Katchor] performs that often promised yet rarely accomplished feat of transforming the mundane into the sublime. --The Globe and Mail

". . . the reader finds herself pulled in a new direction with every page, deep into a city far more interesting than our own . . ." --
The Washington Post
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Pantheon; 1st edition (March 15, 2011)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 128 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0375421149
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0375421143
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.79 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 11 x 0.76 x 8.78 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19 ratings

About the author

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Ben Katchor's picture-stories and drawings have appeared in the Forward, Metropolis Magazine, and The New Yorker. His weekly strips include: Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer, The Jew of New York, The Cardboard Valise, Hotel & Farm and most recently Shoehorn Technique. He was the recipient of a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, was a fellow at The American Academy in Berlin and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.

Katchor's libretto and drawings for The Carbon Copy Building, a collaboration with Bang on a Can, received an Obie Award for Best New American Work.

More recently, he has collaborated with musician Mark Mulcahy on "The Rosenbach Company," a sung-through musical biography of Abe Rosenbach, the preeminent rare-book dealer of the 20th century, "The Slugbearers of Kayrol Island," which won an Obie Award in 2008, "A Checkroom Romance," a love story about the culture and architecture of the coat-check room and most recently, "Up From the Stacks," the story of a page retrieving books from the stacks of The New York Public c. 1970.

He is an Associate Professor at Parsons, The New School for Design in New York City.

For more information visit www.katchor.com

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
19 global ratings
5 star
72%
4 star
4%
3 star
24%
2 star 0% (0%) 0%
1 star 0% (0%) 0%

Top reviews from the United States

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Top reviews from other countries

Michael Hind
5.0 out of 5 stars If you know Katchor's work, you will love this.
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on March 13, 2021