Mini reviews (aka the lazy post)

What a weekend! Things were done, other things, sadly, not. We put our new bed together (hooray!) but have yet to order the mattress (boo!). We went up to Berkeley, had Zachary‘s pizza, ice cream at ici (love their cones!), and bought a fantastic – yet still affordable – arc lamp (hurrah!). But didn’t manage to find a coffee table, rug, bench etc despite hitting three furniture stores (boooo!).

As you might have guessed, not too much reading was achieved over the weekend. However, over the past couple of weeks I did manage to polish off a few graphic novels, none of which I had heard of before coming across them at the library. So thumbs up to the library’s acquisitions department for interesting and different graphic novels, but thumbs down because they don’t have all of Fables!

Exit Wounds – Rutu Modan

Synopsis: Set in modern-day Tel Aviv, a young man, Koby Franco, receives an urgent phone call from a female soldier. Learning that his estranged father may have been a victim of a suicide bombing in Hadera, Koby reluctantly joins the soldier in searching for clues. His death would certainly explain his empty apartment and disconnected phone line. As Koby tries to unravel the mystery of his father’s death, he finds himself piecing together not only the last few months of his father’s life but his entire identity.

The colourful illustrations of Exit Wounds made me think of the Tintin comics  I loved as a kid. It was very simply done yet incredibly vibrant and engaging. I haven’t read much (if at all) by Israeli authors, let alone graphic novelists, so it was great to have an insight into a different culture. However, if you’re the type looking for some action-packed storyline, this perhaps isn’t the book for you. Nothing really much happens in Exit Wounds, as the storyline was very much an exploration of identity, of both Koby and the female soldier, Numi. Exit Wounds was a thoughtful, rather captivating read.

The Alcoholic – Jonathan Ames and Dean Haspiel

Now this graphic novel is the complete opposite of Exit Wounds. Just by looking at the cover image, you can pretty much guess that. This is a graphic novel filled with illustrations that are so moody and stark, and yet somehow you can’t turn away from them, and from this story that’s leading into a spiral of despair and self-destruction. This tale of alcoholism and of love is at once hilarious and heartbreaking.

Lucky – Gabrielle Bell

And from the moody, almost dank pages of The Alcoholic, we move over to the very simple line drawings of Gabrielle Bell. Yet another about turn! There isn’t an overall storyline to this graphic novel, as it’s more of a series of observances of small moments in life. There’s a lot of apartment hunting, trying out of different jobs, meeting up with friends and so on. It’s about the everyday life of artists struggling to make ends meet in New York City. I know that doesn’t quite have the bait to reel in readers, but it was its simplicity and its honesty (and of course, the humour) that pulled this one together for me.


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