Tuesday, May 13, 2008

On "32 Stories" by Adrian Tomine ***

I don't read a lot of graphic novels--or graphic short stories, in this case--so a listing for a book like this isn't likely become a regular feature on the blog. However, I scored a free copy of this from a friend who was moving away the other day and devoured it in one sitting a couple of days later. Of graphic novelists, I've only really bothered reading Daniel Clownes (whose work I find somewhat disturbing and have a like/hate relationship with) and Tomine to any degree. The latter has always impressed me. He manages somehow, in pictures, to do what a great short story writer does--present you with a moment of a life, get you to feel with/for the person. This collection of very early pieces has its shaggy dogs, but some of the stories--all extremely short--work extremely well. I particularly like the pieces based on Tomine's dreams, which have a certain Twilight Zone feel to them (and are eerily complete), and the pieces based around a lonely young woman who works odd hours and is thus up in the middle of the night when all others are by then in bed. The former are surreal and cool; the latter are realistic and sort of bittersweet. I don't know that I'll ever completely overcome my bias against graphic novels, but if anyone could help me do that, it would be Tomine.

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