J.-P. Toussaint’s Naked at The Complete Review

October 10th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink


Michael Orthofer, at his site The Complete Review, a source for international lit, has these nice words for Naked, the latest from “Belgian Nicholson Baker”  Jean-Philippe Toussaint, and the final book in his Marie tetralogy:

This isn’t a novel with a simple story-arc, traced simply from a beginning to an end. The relationship with Marie, more off than on, with the narrator always captivated by the flighty figure, similarly doesn’t have a neat beginning and end, and the story easily is spread out over three other novels, too, making for a richer picture, but not, ultimately, a complete one.

This is a lovely novel, even if it doesn’t necessarily offer the satisfactions of a fully-formed story — and yet Toussaint rounds it off satisfyingly too, But even in this simple, almost conventional end, of protagonists finding each other, it closes on with a question, making any finality deceptive: Marie seems to ask the obvious — yet her need to ask, and her surprise, suggest she still hasn’t entirely understood, all along.
A very nice piece of work, both together with the others Marie-novels, and on its own.

Peplum Makes The AV Club’s Best of 2016 List

October 10th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Blutch’s dreamlike toga epic Peplum, which came out this spring from New York Review Comics, makes the Onion A.V .Club’s Best Comics of 2016 So Far list, earning a nice writeup from Shea Hennum:

… lilting along through scenes of great violence and great sensuality, each set piece crashing into one another… a work both visually and emotionally arresting. Here, in poetic and aesthetic glory, Blutch explores the attraction of death and the psychotic longing to encounter the sublime. He inks his pages with heavy cross-hatching and smeared, sticky brush strokes, carving out images of white space untouched by the abyssal blackness.

I’d see Shea’s reviews before, but I first became aware of his critical work in an excellent essay he devoted to letterer John Workman in the back pages of Joe Keatinge and Leila Del Duca’s Image series Shutter. Big thanks to Shea and the A.V. Club!

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