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I, Parrot: A Graphic Novel Paperback – November 1, 2017

3.9 out of 5 stars 7 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for I, Parrot by Deb Olin Unferth and Elizabeth Haidle

"[Unferth's] language is sly and bitterly funny, matched in mood by Haidle’s monochromatic, inkwash-style artwork, which plays up the story’s whimsy as well as its sadness." ―The New York Times Book Review

"I don't know anything about birds, but I do know good comics, and this is one." ―Vulture

"Unferth dexterously juggles pathos and humor in her debut graphic novel, an intimate and contemplative reflection on the slow revelatory dawning of what it means to care for something―or someone. . . . Unexpectedly funny, sad, scary, affirming and totally engrossing." ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"[A] winningly surreal collaboration. . . . Unferth impresses with strong characterizations and a tightrope tragicomic tone. Haidle's spare, cartoony, Mary Blair-ish illustrations, impressively rendered in grayscale―especially the 20 different species of parrots and the characters' permanent, 'rosy' blush―and her retro-futuristic, all-caps style perfectly complement the colorful, off-kilter tale of a woman redirecting the sails of her story." ―Booklist

"Haidle brings more than just design expertise. Her simple, crisp grayscale images set the tone for the story: a dreamlike softness evoked by the mid-20th century modernist cartoon figures, overlaid with the textural complexity of watercolor, but stripped of color." ―Multiversity Comics

“A deftly observed, sad, and ultimately hopeful fable about civilization, wildness, and love.” ―Molly Crabapple, author of Drawing Blood

I, Parrot beautifully renders the weird in-betweenness of life. It illuminates the messy: custody battles, insecticide hazards, the hairpin paths of love.” ―Leanne Shapton, author of Swimming Studies

“A lovingly crafted world of gray, at once complex and weightless.” ―Roman Muradov, author of Lost and Found


Praise for Deb Olin Unferth


“Unferth excels with a wry, self-deprecating voice that propels the tale forward...Unferth's prose is a pleasure to read.” —Publishers Weekly

“Unferth surely can write...You find yourself re-reading descriptions…simply for the pleasure of the language.” —Chicago Tribune

“This is a very funny, excoriatingly honest story of being young, semi-idealistic, stupid and in love. If you have ever been any of these things, you'll devour it.” —Dave Eggers

“There is something in Unferth's combination of spare language and intelligent observation, her darts of emotional insight shooting through a highly personal screen, that is reminiscent of Joan Didion. That's a lot to live up to, but the two writers share a sense of beauty and loss and get something on the page that implies something else just out of reach.” —Los Angeles Times

“Unferth writes with a sly, understated appreciation for the absurd…A dryly humorous memoir of love, travel and wide-eyed idealism.” —Kirkus

“As wild and gnarly as this tale of youthful hubris is, Unferth's prose remains as sure and slicing as a machete, clearing a path through a jungle of emotions. As Unferth revisits the appalling civil wars of Central America in her rueful and intoxicating account of a mad adventure and crazily improvised rites of initiation into selfhood, she creates a memoir of unique lucidity, wit, and power.” —Booklist

“Hers is a bildungsroman for the Believer set… impossible to dislike…The jokes are crisp and understated, the sentences clean and knapped.” —New York Observer

Revolution calls itself a memoir, but Deb Olin Unferth's tale of dropping out of college to join the Sandinista revolution is something altogether stranger and more dazzling.” —Time Out New York

“Unferth's application of her imagination to her subject…evokes what David Foster Wallace refers to as 'the click,' a feeling one gets when reading work that's firing on all cylinders.” —Christopher Sorrentino, Bookforum

Praise for VACATION

“Deb Olin Unferth is one of the most daring and entertaining writers in America today. She is an artist who knows that every sentence is an opportunity to have it all music, invention, narrative drive and hers most definitely do. This novel is tricky, odd, unnerving, Hilarious, and ultimately quite scary, not to mention very, very moving. We may or may not deserve this Vacation, but we are lucky to have it.” ―Sam Lipsyte

“Wonderful, addictive prose. Ms. Unferth sure knows how to turn a phrase and it's a delight to follow her across the American landscape.” ―Gary Shteyngart

“Part mystery, part sonata, Unferth writes like a musician plays, weaving images and themes and melodies with these beautifully rhythmic, funny, heart-breaking sentences. The whole novel should be read aloud and relished.” ―Aimee Bender

“Deb Olin Unferth is, I believe, one of the crucial literary artists of her generation. Her fictions give evidence of an artist determined to speak about the remarkable, who manages with exactitude all elements necessary to produce the well-made, eccentric object. Her vision evokes high comedy and the violence of tragedy heard through voices exquisitely particular to her mind.” ―Diane Williams

Elizabeth Haidle

“Elizabeth Haidle is a master…[she] embellishes nature with a mad scientist flair. We have gorgeous works like this one to set our imaginations whirring.” —Phantasmaphile

“[Mind Afire is] more of an illustrated biographical essay. It works because the art is so gorgeous and Nikola Tesla's life was so bizarre and colourful”. —Confessions of a Science Librarian

“Elizabeth Haidle published her first picture book at age thirteen. Fashionista extraordinaire, Sarah Jessica Parker called Elizabeth's most recent illustration project, The Encyclopedia of the Exquisite “a delightful ode to everyday elegance.” —Red Fox Literary

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3.9 out of 5 stars
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