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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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    Lois Leveen 9781476757445

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This title in other editions

Big Questions

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Big Questions Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A New York Times Notable Book of 2011, included on Amazon.com, Publishers Weekly, and  NPRS Best Comics lists

A haunting postmodern fable, Big Questions is the magnum opus of Anders Nilsen, one of the brightest and most talented young cartoonists working today. This beautiful minimalist story, collected here for the first time, is the culmination of ten years and more than six hundred pages of work that details the metaphysical quandaries of the occupants of an endless plain, existing somewhere between a dream and a Russian steppe. A downed plane is thought to be a bird and the unexploded bomb that came from it is mistaken for a giant egg by the group of birds whose lives the story follows. The indifferent, stranded pilot is of great interest to the birds—some doggedly seek his approval, while others do quite the opposite, leading to tensions in the group. Nilsen seamlessly moves from humor to heartbreak. His distinctive, detailed line work is paired with plentiful white space and large, often frameless panels, conveying an ineffable sense of vulnerability and openness.

     Big Questions has roots in classic fables—the birds and snakes have more to say than their human counterparts, and there are hints of the heros journey, but here the easy moral that closes most fables is left open and ambiguous. Rather than lending its world meaning, Nilsens parable lets the questions wander where they will.

Review:

"Epic in its scale and circumscribed in focus, Nilsen's incisive Big Questions is a philosophical novel that uses the techniques of fable to investigate faith, society, disillusionment, and catastrophe. A dozen years in the making, Nilsen's 600+-page story depicts the lives, bonds, and quarrels of a group of quizzical birds whose ontology is challenged by the appearance of a bomb, a crashed airplane, and a narcoleptic human pilot. At first these talkative avians resemble Charles Schulz's Linus with their naïve philosophizing. But as the situation escalates, the book demonstrates how, in the absence of knowledge, germinal philosophy and early religion can be much the same thing. Competing mythologies, ideologies, and messianic fervor cause rifts within a community that otherwise unites as part of nature's predatory food chain. Nilsen outlines his figures with a thin but commanding line, and builds texture and atmosphere with dense stippling and hatching, creating a lush, verdant landscape. His breathtaking vistas resonate with his characters' struggle to assemble meaning from incomprehensible events — and to rebuild their world from the pieces left over." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

A New York Times Notable Book of 2011, included on Amazon.com, Publishers Weekly, and  NPRS Best Comics lists

A haunting postmodern fable, Big Questions is the magnum opus of Anders Nilsen, one of the brightest and most talented young cartoonists working today. This beautiful minimalist story, collected here for the first time, is the culmination of ten years and more than six hundred pages of work that details the metaphysical quandaries of the occupants of an endless plain, existing somewhere between a dream and a Russian steppe. A downed plane is thought to be a bird and the unexploded bomb that came from it is mistaken for a giant egg by the group of birds whose lives the story follows. The indifferent, stranded pilot is of great interest to the birds—some doggedly seek his approval, while others do quite the opposite, leading to tensions in the group. Nilsen seamlessly moves from humor to heartbreak. His distinctive, detailed line work is paired with plentiful white space and large, often frameless panels, conveying an ineffable sense of vulnerability and openness.

     Big Questions has roots in classic fables—the birds and snakes have more to say than their human counterparts, and there are hints of the heros journey, but here the easy moral that closes most fables is left open and ambiguous. Rather than lending its world meaning, Nilsens parable lets the questions wander where they will.

About the Author

Anders Nilsen was born in New Hampshire and now lives in Chicago. He has a BFA in painting and illustration from the University of NewMexico in Albuquerque. He is the author of Dogs and Water and Dont Go Where I Cant Follow.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781770460478
Author:
Nilsen, Anders
Publisher:
Drawn and Quarterly
Subject:
Graphic Novels-Literary
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20110816
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 7 up to 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Black-and-White and Color Illustrations
Pages:
658
Dimensions:
9.25 x 7.25 in
Age Level:
from 12 up to 18

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » Alternative
Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » General
Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » Literary

Big Questions New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$44.95 In Stock
Product details 658 pages Drawn & Quarterly - English 9781770460478 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Epic in its scale and circumscribed in focus, Nilsen's incisive Big Questions is a philosophical novel that uses the techniques of fable to investigate faith, society, disillusionment, and catastrophe. A dozen years in the making, Nilsen's 600+-page story depicts the lives, bonds, and quarrels of a group of quizzical birds whose ontology is challenged by the appearance of a bomb, a crashed airplane, and a narcoleptic human pilot. At first these talkative avians resemble Charles Schulz's Linus with their naïve philosophizing. But as the situation escalates, the book demonstrates how, in the absence of knowledge, germinal philosophy and early religion can be much the same thing. Competing mythologies, ideologies, and messianic fervor cause rifts within a community that otherwise unites as part of nature's predatory food chain. Nilsen outlines his figures with a thin but commanding line, and builds texture and atmosphere with dense stippling and hatching, creating a lush, verdant landscape. His breathtaking vistas resonate with his characters' struggle to assemble meaning from incomprehensible events — and to rebuild their world from the pieces left over." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,
A New York Times Notable Book of 2011, included on Amazon.com, Publishers Weekly, and  NPRS Best Comics lists

A haunting postmodern fable, Big Questions is the magnum opus of Anders Nilsen, one of the brightest and most talented young cartoonists working today. This beautiful minimalist story, collected here for the first time, is the culmination of ten years and more than six hundred pages of work that details the metaphysical quandaries of the occupants of an endless plain, existing somewhere between a dream and a Russian steppe. A downed plane is thought to be a bird and the unexploded bomb that came from it is mistaken for a giant egg by the group of birds whose lives the story follows. The indifferent, stranded pilot is of great interest to the birds—some doggedly seek his approval, while others do quite the opposite, leading to tensions in the group. Nilsen seamlessly moves from humor to heartbreak. His distinctive, detailed line work is paired with plentiful white space and large, often frameless panels, conveying an ineffable sense of vulnerability and openness.

     Big Questions has roots in classic fables—the birds and snakes have more to say than their human counterparts, and there are hints of the heros journey, but here the easy moral that closes most fables is left open and ambiguous. Rather than lending its world meaning, Nilsens parable lets the questions wander where they will.

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