PURPLE TREE BOOKS REVIEW: Reading a graphic novel is a unique experience. It is not simply a picture book nor a novel of prose but a collaboration of the two arts, which together can create an intriguing and genuine, gut wrenching, realistic portrayal of the human experience. Persepolis, Fun Home, Maus, and Incognegro are among numerous examples of such works that serve as cultural artifacts depicting the truth of our human experiences. Each work varies in artistry, vision, outlook, cultural influence and time period, but all offer an unbearable and irrevocable truth in what we have and can experience and endure in life.
FUN HOME: A TRAGICOMIC BY ALISON BECHDEL
9780618871711 – PAPERBACK $14.95 – MARINER BOOKS
In this groundbreaking, bestselling graphic memoir, Alison Bechdel charts her fraught relationship with her late father. In her hands, personal history becomes a work of amazing subtlety and power, written with controlled force and enlivened with humor, rich literary allusion, and heartbreaking detail. Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the “Fun Home.” It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve.
THE COMPLETE PERSEPOLIS BY MARJANE SATRAPI
9780375714832 – PAPERBACK $24.95 – PANTHEON
Persepolis is the story of Satrapi’s unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming–both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up. Edgy, searingly observant, and candid, often heartbreaking but threaded throughout with raw humor and hard-earned wisdom–Persepolis is a stunning work from one of the most highly regarded, singularly talented graphic artists at work today.
INCOGNEGO BY MAT JOHNSON
9781401210977 – HARDCOVER $19.99 – VERTIGO
Writer Mat Johnson (HELLBLAZER: PAPA MIDNITE), winner of the prestigious Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for fiction, constructs a fearless graphic novel that is both a page-turning mystery and a disturbing exploration of race and self-image in America, masterfully illustrated with rich period detail by Wareen Pleece (THE INVISIBLES, HELLBLAZER). In the early 20th Century, when lynchings were commonplace throughout the American South, a few courageous reporters from the North risked their lives to expose these atrocities. They were African-American men who, due to their light skin color, could “pass” among the white folks. They called this dangerous assignment going “incognegro.”Zane Pinchback, a reporter for the New York-based New Holland Herald barely escapes with his life after his latest “incognegro” story goes bad. But when he returns to the sanctuary of Harlem, he’s sent to investigate the arrest of his own brother, charged with the brutal murder of a white woman in Mississippi. With a lynch mob already swarming, Zane must stay “incognegro” long enough to uncover the truth behind the murder in order to save his brother — and himself. He finds that the answers are buried beneath layers of shifting identities, forbidden passions and secrets that run far deeper than skin color.
THE COMPLETE MAUS BY ART SPEIGLEMAN
9780679406419 – HARDCOVER $35 – PANTHEON
“The Complete Maus” is a Pulitzer prize-winning Holocaust survivor story. “The most affecting and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust”. (“Wall Street Journal”). “The first masterpiece in comic book history”. (“The New Yorker”). “The Pulitzer Prize-winning “Maus” tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father’s story. “Maus” approaches the unspeakable through the diminutive. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), shocks us out of any lingering sense of familiarity and succeeds in ‘drawing us closer to the bleak heart of the Holocaust'”. (“The New York Times”). “Maus” is a haunting tale within a tale. Vladek’s harrowing story of survival is woven into the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father. Against the backdrop of guilt brought by survival, they stage a normal life of small arguments and unhappy visits. This astonishing retelling of our century’s grisliest news is a story of survival, not only of Vladek but of the children who survive even the survivors. “Maus” studies the bloody pawprints of history and tracks its meaning for all of us. This combined, definitive edition includes “Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale” and “Maus II”.