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Nine Ways to Disappear Paperback – April 30, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Paperback, April 30, 2009
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Editorial Reviews


Lilli Carre is one of my favorite comics artists, and I become terribly excited every time she releases new work. (Her piece was the best part about The Best American Comics 2008, and she has a wonderful story in the spring issue of MOME.) Nine Ways to Disappear tells nine short tales of people and things who fade away, whether it's because of loneliness, death or bizarre circumstances. Carre inserts a bit of magic into her storytelling, and anything can happen to her characters: In one story, a man transforms into a pearl. In another, a storm drain speaks. In another, a couple's love becomes so intense that it literally produces fruit. I can't imagine anyone reading this book and not wanting to go out and buy a copy for someone else. --Whitney Matheson, Pop Candy - USA Today

No comics creator since Steve Ditko has had as direct access to their subconscious as Lilli Carré, and perhaps none ever (not Ben Katchor, not Jim Woodring) has been better at navigating its meanings and following its logic on its own terms. Nine Ways to Disappear is an enthralling book of strange vignettes from people's inner lives, one panel per small page in homespun antique-pattern picture frames. Carré is a chronicler of the unnoticed, and as per the title these are nine portraits of people and events that drift out of sight.
It opens with Dorado Park, in which two sisters literally grow apart as one of them finds a mate and causes a surreal wilderness to fill up their house and crowd the other sister out. In Sleepwalker a passive man who can only be acted upon has no frame of reference for his transient relationships and chronic rootlessness, symbolized with bizarre sleepwalking episodes and a float across the ocean that brings him to a T.S. Eliot moment of full-circle homecoming, without the revelation.
In The Neighbor a little girl visits an ailing elderly fellow apartment tenant who progressively shrinks smaller than she is, signifying the disappearance of past generations over the horizon behind headlong youth. In What Am I Going to Do? and The Sun, characters literally collapse under the weight of their anxieties, in the best, gruesome cubist slapstick this side of Alixopulos. Wide Eyes offers a hallucinatory, grotesque device for showing a guy who serially feels he's getting lost in another's love and tries to be invisible to her, in a tragic/farcical alternating current of attraction and isolation that depends on the wideness of his view and what it's willing to take in.
There are two bittersweet vignettes about the relics of existence that flow down a storm drain, and in Carré's latest masterpiece, The Pearl, a precious artifact passes through many weird adventures and unknowing hands in an absurd drama about the unseen ghosts of past experience hovering around the ephemera that moves across our lives and means things we don't much try to notice.
Carré's boneless, Demoiselles d Avignon-faced characters express a remarkable, expanding range of both vaudeville exaggeration and genuine emotional layers, and there's a new palette of settings and textures, from Freudianly dingy clubs in Wide Eyes to, in The Pearl, a few worlds-full of fantastic silent-movie locales and trance-vision human transformations. Nine Ways to Disappear shows an important, endearing talent making an unerasable mark. --Adam McGovern, ComicCritique.Com

...Carre's thick-lined, curvy style and unusual vision has a strong appeal, especially in stories like If I Were A Fish, where Carre adopts the voice of a storm drain that dreams of the objects that slip through its grate. --The Onion A.V. Club

About the Author

Lilli Carre is an accomplished artist and animator living in Chicago. She has created two highly acclaimed books, The Lagoon (Fantagraphics) and Tales of Woodsman Pete (Top Shelf). Her work has appeared on the covers and in the pages of The Best American Comics (Houghton Mifflin) and Mome (Fantagraphics). She designed the cover for the upcoming Penguin Classics edition of Huckleberry Finn and is working on an illustrated edition of Hans Christian Andersen's The Fir Tree for HarperCollins.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Little Otsu; 1st edition (April 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934378178
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934378175
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,753,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I first saw some of Lilli Carre's work on the cover of The Best American Comics 2006 and reading an excerpt of her book Tales of Woodsman Pete within its pages. I went on to read Tales of Woodsman Pete in its entirety and I think it is my favorite of her full length pieces. Last year I read The Lagoon and never shared my thoughts on it because I'm not sure I completely understood it. So I was excited to see what Carre had come up with in Nine Ways to Disappear and I'm pleased to say it's pretty great!

Nine Ways to Disappear is an assortment of long and short stories told frame by frame, some with words others without. I loved that they all carried the theme of disappearing but it completely different ways. One of my favorite stories was Wide Eyes, about a man that ends up hiding between his girlfriend's eyes to get a break from her. I also liked The Pearl, which is about the journey of the pearl and who finds it, takes it, becomes one with it...

Let's talk about the format, the book is a little square that is pretty thick with pages. Because of that and the way it's bound it's pretty hard to keep those tiny little pages open so I had to fight the book to keep it open since I wasn't about to try and crack the spine.

Overall these are some clever little stories with a strangely awesome sense of humor!
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This award-worthy book contains iconic and visceral visual stories skillfully, creatively, and memorably created with insight, intelligent humor, absurdity, and pathos. Absolutely wonderful. I love the format and overall design of the book. I have given this book as a special gift many times. I have never had any problem with the binding on any of them. Highly recommend.
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I've been wanting to order this book for years now. I finally ordered it and not even halfway through the first story, the pages started falling out. I'm not one to break the bindings on my books so I was shocked that the binding was so poor that the pages started falling out so quickly. Love the stories though. I'm hoping I'll be able to keep the pages in order so I can read it over.
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I loved it. The ilustrations are great and I really liked the stories. Also I love the square format. 100% recommended.
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