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Review - Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli

as posted on my site, blog.willmego.com
Excellent! – Asterios Polyp is the story of an Architect who’s never actually built a building – he’s a “paper architect”. And this is the story of his relationship with his wife, which itself is the story of a relationship built on more theoretical than practical ground. It’s lovely, complex, and deeply meaningful. It’s a cautionary tale and one of emotional and intellectual redemption. Many people who fancy themselves cognoscenti of culture find this book horrifying, as it plays with their biggest fears, namely that all the posturing and pontificating they do is really just alienating and stifling for everyone who’s forced to deal with them. Don’t worry though: it’s completely true, you are.

The book opens to find Asterios driven from his normal life by events outside his control, and he seizes the chance to find a new perspective on existence, and his own personal history. We follow him as he reflects and explores, building a new practical self by dismantling the old, “paper” theoretical version of himself. This symbolism between the theoretical and the practical is the theme running through the novel, until at last he finds a sort of rebirth.

I personally found the ending a little flawed, containing extra messages which while cute, for me drew away from the overall work, but taking it as a whole, Asterios Polyp is a great example of why vital storytelling and literary work can and is being done in the graphic format. This is a powerful book, and deserves more recognition than it gets. **** – Four Stars out of Five