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Building Stories by Chris Ware
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Building Stories (2012)

by Chris Ware

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6433315,030 (4.42)94
Recently added bykipen, Madriles, saskia17, dillenj, jezebelisgone, safari45, kosmiske, private library, mrgan, andreadcruz
  1. 00
    Shoplifter by Michael Cho (sweetiegherkin)
    sweetiegherkin: Both are graphic novels (although Building Stories is a more complex with its multiple parts) with female protagonists who feel lonely and isolated. Both are imbued with a sense of pathos, although Shoplifter has a more optimistic ending and bits of humor throughout than does Building Stories, whereas the latter has a larger scope in its storytelling, following the protagonist for a longer period of time.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
Chris Ware's latest "book" is a unique object: a box of 14 mini-books of all different formats, from hardbound "comics" to enormous, sprawling poster-stories. His art is as good as it's ever been. It's surgically precise, stunning, and recognizable as nobody else's but his.

However, narratively, he has entered the darkest, muddiest part of his career. Building Stories is highly depressing even when compared to Ware's other work. Every story, every character, every situation in it is a study in failure, sadness, guilt, hate, disappointment, and misery. The total effect is a claustrophobic, suffocating misanthropy that amounts to pure abuse of the reader.

Previously, Ware's anhedonia has been channeled into genuinely interesting, provoking tales, as in ACME #19. Here, the setting and the characters are as plain as you can imagine. In fact you don't have to do much imagining at all: they're you, the modern, 2012 you—nailed with uncanny precision. Except it is the dark core of you: every negative, uncomfortable, self-hating moment lined up into a set of panels, with all the stuff that makes life living carefully removed (except when it is put on the butchering table to be mocked).

It's pointless for anyone to say what anyone else *should* be writing about, especially when it is written and visually composed as skillfully as it is here. But whether there's a point to it or not, I can't help saying that Chris Ware seriously needs to find a new set of stories to write.

4 stars because the art deserves every star there is. ( )
  mrgan | Oct 30, 2017 |
Experimental fiction at its best ( )
  trulsharry | Sep 13, 2017 |
This was a really cool idea for a book. It is told in pieces sort of comic boom style and you can read the pieces in any order and still understand the story by the time you get to the end. I enjoyed this experience a lot. The only difficult thing was not being able to carry it around to read on the train or elsewhere; I pretty much had to read it at home. I could have grabbed individual pieces to being with me, but I would fear damaging the pages that way. I recommend this for any book lover. ( )
  ktlavender | Jul 17, 2017 |
Brilliant. ( )
  alliewheeler | May 17, 2017 |
almost perfect except that some of the writing was teeny-tiny and I couldn't read it easily!! ( )
  Deborahrs | Apr 15, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
I don't want to give the impression that Building Stories is without its faults. On a practical level, older – ahem – comic lovers will sometimes struggle to read Ware's miniature writing, and I must be honest and say that I would rather have been told the best order in which to read its sections (there certainly is one, and I think it's pointless to pretend otherwise). Confusion about past and present sometimes distracts from the deep pleasures of the crammed page. But still, this is a wonderful achievement. It's not only that it is so beautifully and attentively made – though in the age of the Kindle, and of all things disposable, Ware is certainly making a powerful statement. No, it's the sense of belief that gets to you, the absolute commitment to the form. Building Stories does things no traditional novel can, or not without much lumbering effort; and it does other things no comic has hitherto pulled off. No wonder, then, that opening it for the first time makes you feel like a child at Christmas. It's a thing to be treasured, a box of delights.
added by peterbrown | editThe Observer, Rachel Cooke (Oct 21, 2012)
 
Like everything else here, it’s also slow, demanding and melancholy. Ware has earned the right to make demands of his readers, though. He’s built a whole microcosm in this box, over the course of more than a decade. You have to play by his rules to perceive its complicated splendor, or find yourself like Branford the bee, stuck behind a pane of “hard air” and unable to reach the flower beyond it.
 
There's nobody else doing anything in this medium that remotely approaches Ware for originality, plangency, complexity and exactitude. Astonishment is an entirely appropriate response.
added by peterbrown | editThe Guardian, Sam Leith (Sep 21, 2012)
 
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Epigraph
Don't forget to go outside of the house once in a while or you'll lose your source of pollination.

-Clara Louise Ware (1905 - 1990)
Everything you can imagine is real.

- Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973)
Dedication
For Marnie, Clara and Mom.
First words
Second picture strip: "I don't care.  I just don't care."
Quotations
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are employed deceptively.  Any resemblance to actual living, dead or insensate persons, events municipalities, locales, historical figures, emotions, sensations or unnameable poetic impressions is entirely coincidental, or at least not deliberately intended to catalyze litigation.

(Printed inside the cover of the box)
I already felt like a statue that'd stood in one place for too long, blackened by time, passers-by not even looking up at me or remembering why I was there ...
They all felt behind me, anyway, a past I was no longer a part of ... and what did I have to look forward to?
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
In Chris Ware's own words, 'Building Stories follows the inhabitants of a three-flat Chicago apartment house: a thirty-year-old woman who has yet to find someone with whom to spend the rest of her life; a couple who wonder if they can bear each other's company for another minute; and finally an elderly woman who never married and is the building's landlady...'

The scope, the ambition, the artistry and emotional heft of this project are beyond anything even Chris Ware has achieved before. [Amazon.co.uk]
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375424334, Hardcover)


Featured Pages from Building Stories

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(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:11 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Presents an illustrated tale, told in various books and folded sheets, about the residents in a three-story Chicago apartment building, including a lonely single woman, a couple who are growing to despise each other, and an elderly landlady.

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