Asterios Polyp

Asterios Polyp

Hardback Pantheon Books

By (author) David Mazzucchelli

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  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
  • Format: Hardback | 344 pages
  • Dimensions: 201mm x 264mm x 33mm | 1,179g
  • Publication date: 23 July 2009
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0307377326
  • ISBN 13: 9780307377326
  • Illustrations note: full-colour illustrations throughout
  • Sales rank: 5,926

Product description

The triumphant return of one of comics' greatest talents, with an engrossing story of one man's search for love, meaning, sanity, and perfect architectural proportions. An epic story long awaited, and well worth the wait. Meet Asterios Polyp: middle-aged, meagerly successful architect and teacher, aesthete and womanizer, whose life is wholly upended when his New York City apartment goes up in flames. In a tenacious daze, he leaves the city and relocates to a small town in the American heartland. But what is this "escape" really about? As the story unfolds, moving between the present and the past, we begin to understand this confounding yet fascinating character, and how he's gotten to where he is. And isn't. And we meet Hana: a sweet, smart, first-generation Japanese American artist with whom he had made a blissful life. But now she's gone. Did Asterios do something to drive her away? What has happened to her? Is she even alive? All the questions will be answered, eventually. In the meantime, we are enthralled by Mazzucchelli's extraordinarily imagined world of brilliantly conceived eccentrics, sharply observed social mores, and deftly depicted asides on everything from design theory to the nature of human perception. " Asterios Polyp" is David Mazzucchelli's masterpiece: a great American graphic novel.

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Author information

David Mazzucchelli has been making comics his whole life. Known chiefly for his collaborations - with Frank Miller on seminal Batman and Daredevil stories, and with Paul Karasik on an adaptation of Paul Auster's novel, "City of Glass" - he began publishing his own stories in 1991 in his anthology magazine, "Rubber Blanket." Since then his short comics have been published in books and magazines around the world. "Asterios Polyp" is his first graphic novel, and has won the "Los Angeles Times" Book Prize and been listed as a "New York Times" notable book.

Review quote

"Mazzucchelli manages to combine breathless formal experimentation and read feeling into a story where every line, color choice, and panel arrangement builds toward a cohesive whole, lending an air of epic proportions to what would otherwise be a simple tale." -"Library Journal" " " "This is an epic, emotionally rich, symbol-laden work that promises to redefine the graphic novel...David Mazzucchelli has made a beautiful, elaborate construction that coyly juggles style and content in a way few cartoonists are capable of." -"Globe and Mail " "This brazenly original and complex work is easily one of the year's best novels, graphic or otherwise...Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant." -"San Jose Mercury News" "David Mazzucchelli's boldly ambitious, boundary-pushing graphic novel is remarkable for the way it synthesizes word and image to craft a new kind of storytelling, and for how it makes that synthesis seem so intuitive as to render it invisible..."Asterios Polyp" is a fast, fun read, but it's also a work that has been carefully wrought to take optimum advantage of comics' hybrid nature -- it's a tale that could only be told on the knife-edge where text and art come seamlessly together." -NPR's The Five Best Books to Share with Your Friends "As ever, Mazzucchelli keeps both the visual and storytelling fireworks coming...This is a work that demands to be read, re-read, analyzed, and discussed."--"Comics Bulletin" " " "Formally daring yet stylistically self-assured, "Asterios Polyp" is a bona fide masterpiece and the early frontrunner for best graphic novel of the year...It's the presentation-- the use of narrative symbolism, color and visual metaphor--that truly sets the book apart. Much like he did with "Year One" over 20 years ago, Mazzucchelli has once again raised the bar for his entire artform." -"Chicago Sun Times" "This is a comic for artists, and it plays with space and color in ways that maybe only artists will understan

Editorial reviews

Even by the standards of the graphic novel, this cosmic epic pushes the creative envelope.With previous credits including superheroes for Marvel Comics and the transformation of Paul Auster's City of Glass into a graphic novel (2004), Mazzucchelli returns with a title that suggests a mid-period Pink Floyd song and an illustrated narrative that is every bit as mind-blowing. It begins with a bolt of lightning that destroys the New York City apartment of the title character, a pompous academic who is celebrated (or who celebrates himself) as a "paper architect." He draws plans for buildings that will never be built, and his theories inform many of the panels, rendering them as the graphic equivalent of metafiction, design about design. For many pages at a stretch there are few or no words, as a single panel might stretch across a page or two. Yet the narrative functions something like memory, flitting from the present - in which Polyp finds work in a small-town auto shop, after losing everything in his apartment fire, and inserts himself within a community that proves surprisingly accommodating - through critical junctures of his past. It seems that Polyp was actually a twin, and that his stillborn brother might be providing narration. He has also somehow married a beautiful, talented, Japanese-American artist named Hana, though something went wrong with the marriage well before the lightning bolt. In this graphic novel of fate, chance and shooting stars, Polyp insists that "I am the hero of my own story," yet the art provides plenty of evidence to the contrary.A visual and even philosophical stunner. (Kirkus Reviews)