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- Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd
- Format: Paperback | 80 pages
- Dimensions: 170mm x 258mm x 8mm | 240g
- Publication date: 1 May 2007
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0224060880
- ISBN 13: 9780224060882
- Illustrations note: colour illustrations
- Sales rank: 4,719
Ghost World is the story of Enid and Rebecca, teenage friends facing the unwelcome prospect of adulthood, and the uncertain future of their complicated relationship. Clowes conjures a balanced semblance, both tender and objective, of their fragile existence, capturing the mundane thrills and hourly tragedies of a waning adolescence, as he follows a tenuous narrative thread through the fragmented lives of these two fully realised young women.
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Daniel Clowes is the author of the seminal comic book series Eightball, which has been collected into the books Ghost World, Ice Haven and David Boring; the screenwriter of the major motion pictures Ghost World and Art School Confidential; and an illustrator for the New Yorker. He is married and lives in Oakland, CA.
By Mark Thwaite 10 Dec 2008
Enid and Rebecca's story is the tale of the waning months of their adolescence. Womanhood is just around the corner and the two best friends swear a lot (and brilliantly: get swearing right in dialogue is really difficult and Clowes' ear is excellent here), talk about boys, their first sexual experiences, what they hate about (many) other people and try not to think too hard about what life holds in store for them. They have developed and very personal and refined code that means that most everyone else who isn't either Enid or Rebecca is dorky, or stupid, or a Satanist, or a pervert, or an idiot. Somehow, as characters, that only ever seems to make them more real and more endearing. The dialogue is cracking throughout the comic (and well realised in the film which, however, veers away from Clowes plot here somewhat) - funny, ironic, authentic. And their is an authenticity about their friendship, borne out of their rounded characterisations, and predicated on the creeping sense that, whilst the two girls have been best friends, like, for ever the sisterly - indeed, almost married - closeness they now feel is inevitably going to wane. This is brilliantly invoked in a scene (also, not in the film) where Rebecca says to Enid, "You tell me every stupid detail of your life but you don't even mention that you're studying for this test [to get into college.]" They both know that they can't remain such extreme intimates - especially not with Enid's possible (probable) departure - and the all too likely appearance of more permanent boyfriends coming between them.
Whilst there are frames taken directly from the comic and storyboarded into the excllent film Ghost World, the comic has both a different plotline (and many more subtleties) and a more languorous and ironic tone than the film. I also found it a lot sadder - the dusk of the girl's teenage years is beautifully rendered by Clowes and Ghost World is a highly affecting piece.
"For once in a comic story, people are portrayed as they really talk and act. Clowes' pitch is uncannily accurate" Washington Post "A hilarious, melancholy graphic novel" Newsweek "Clowes' remarkable Ghost World might some day become a primer for the next generation of comics writers and artists... Masterfull" Spin "Clowes spells out the realities of teenage angst as powerfully and authentically as Salinger did in Catcher in the Rye for an earlier generation" Hartford Advocate "If ever there was a comic book story meant to be examined by non-comics fans, it's this, a classic in any medium" The Onion