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Epileptic

by

Epileptic Cover

ISBN13: 9780375714689
ISBN10: 0375714685
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Hailed by The Comics Journal as one of Europe's most important and innovative comics artists, David B. has created a masterpiece in Epileptic, his stunning and emotionally resonant autobiography about growing up with an epileptic brother. Epileptic gathers together and makes available in English for the first time all six volumes of the internationally acclaimed graphic work.

David B. was born Pierre-Francois Beauchard in a small town near Orleans, France. He spent an idyllic early childhood playing with the neighborhood kids and, along with his older brother, Jean-Christophe, ganging up on his little sister, Florence. But their lives changed abruptly when Jean-Christophe was struck with epilepsy at age eleven. In search of a cure, their parents dragged the family to acupuncturists and magnetic therapists, to mediums and macrobiotic communes. But every new cure ended in disappointment as Jean-Christophe, after brief periods of remission, would only get worse.

Angry at his brother for abandoning him and at all the quacks who offered them false hope, Pierre-Francois learned to cope by drawing fantastically elaborate battle scenes, creating images that provide a fascinating window into his interior life. An honest and horrifying portrait of the disease and of the pain and fear it sowed in the family, Epileptic is also a moving depiction of one family's intricate history. Through flashbacks, we are introduced to the stories of Pierre-Francois's grandparents and we relive his grandfathers' experiences in both World Wars. We follow Pierre-Francois through his childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, all the while charting his complicated relationship with his brother and Jean-Christophes losing battle with epilepsy. Illustrated with beautiful and striking black-and-white images, Epileptic is as astonishing, intimate, and heartbreaking as the best literary memoir.

Review:

"The first half of French cartoonist David B.'s astonishing L'Ascension du Haut Mal appeared in English a few years ago, but this is the first time the whole book has been translated, and it's one of the greatest graphic novels ever published. Epileptic is a memoir of B.'s evolution into an artist, how learning to re-envision and recreate the world with his eyes and hands became his escape route from the madness and disease that might have destroyed him. B.'s family becomes involved with the shady alternative medicine world in France circa 1970 in an attempt to help his epileptic, unstable older brother. What B. picks up from that culture, from the military history he obsesses over and from his brother's cruel delusions is the raw material of his art: his stylized bodies and objects, which look like woodcuts and urn drawings, and especially his constant conflation of physical reality and symbolic value. With B.'s parents consumed with finding a cure, and his brother's quality of life deteriorating, B.'s dreams of a normal childhood are constantly undermined by his brother's illness, to be replaced by a waking and dreaming life filled with demons.This struggle becomes Epileptic's narrative core. B.'s artwork is magnificent — gorgeously bold, impressionistic representations of the world not as it is but as he's taught himself to perceive it — especially in the heartbreaking dream sequences near the end of the book. B.'s illustrations constantly underscore his writing's wrenching psychological depth; readers can literally see how the chaos of his childhood shaped his vision and mind." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"The best book of the year...David B's scope and artistry put Epileptic on a par with Speigelman's holocaust masterpiece Maus. Andrew Arnold, Time.com's #1 Best Comic of the Year 2002

Review:

"Though it's superbly drawn, the beauty...is found in the writing and in David B's persistence in trying to understand a brother." The Guardian (UK)

Review:

"David B has created a wildly beautiful fantasia on human frailty, on the making of an artist and the unmaking of his own brother — a memoir that is hopeful and bitterly poignant all at once." Paul Collins, author of Not Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism

Review:

"[J]ust as the graphic novel has borrowed from the acute observational skills of the great literary writers of the past, so Epileptic borrows from the great cultural and intellectual archeologies of French nonfiction of the last 100 years, while remaining both accessible and moving." Rick Moody, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"A painfully honest examination of the effects of debilitating epilepsy on one man and his family, told through a combination of straightforward text and expressionist imagery that ranges in its palette from centuries-old symbolism to the secret worlds of childhood. Even as he shows up the hollow promises of every school of esoteric and alternative medicine his family encounters in their quest for help, David B. works a real kind of deeply human magic on the page — something forged from black ink and a soul's struggle — that marks Epileptic as one of the first truly great narrative artworks of the new millennium." Jason Lutes, author of Jar of Fools and Berlin

Review:

"In Epileptic, the distortions of family life caused by his brother's illness are the cracked lens through which David B. explores on his own family's history and, by extension, the conflicts of 20th century France and even, to an extent, the world. The thing that makes this memoir unlike any ever seen before is the wonderful, inky, intricate artwork, and the way that allows us to enter into the story via the rich and angry fantasy life of a growing boy." Jessica Abel, author of La Perdida, Mirror, Window and Soundtrack

Review:

"David B.'s sprawling tale of his family, overrun by his brother's illness and obsessed with curing it, is a masterful depiction of people searching for answers when there may be none. David B. is clearly one of the best storytellers in the medium of comics." Joe Sacco, author of The Fixer, Palestine and Safe Area Gorazde

Review:

"Fantastical, gloriously illustrated graphic memoir of the French cartoonist's life, overshadowed by an epileptic brother....An unromantic, heartrending tale, wrapped in a cloak of nightmares." Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

The most acclamed European graphic novel of the 1990s, Epileptic is author David B.'s story of his brother's battle with epliepsy — but it tums into a penetrating and sometimes lacerating self-examination on the author's part, as he delves into his own complex emotions and his family's troubled history, as well as his own youthful fantasy life. Particularly pointed is his description of the family's joumey from one attempted cure to another (including acupuncture, spiritualism, and macrobiotic diet), the book is drawn in David B.'s spare but detailed, straightforward but elegant style. Co-published with France's L'Association.

About the Author

David B. is a founding member of L'Association, a group of French cartoonists who banded together as publishers in 1990 and have revolutionized European comics with their groundbreaking approach to format, subject matter, and style. He has received many awards, including the French Alph' Art award for comics excellence in 2000, and he was cited as European Cartoonist of the Year in 1998 by The Comics Journal. He lives in France.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Heather Houser, November 16, 2007 (view all comments by Heather Houser)
Delightfully amusing, painfully heartfelt and understated at the right moments. I recommend this graphic novel. The perspective of the panels is also interesting.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
lukas, February 6, 2007 (view all comments by lukas)
The term "graphic novel" gets tossed around a lot, but Epileptic actually warrants it. French artist David B's autobiographical account of growing up with an epileptic brother has the depth, scope, and development of a good novel. It's actually better than many recent ones. The memoir has become a self-indulgent, debased form, but David B breathes new life into it by refusing to be sentimental and by creating a compelling visual style that draws on both high and low sources. The book mixes realism and fantasy in a way that is powerful and lyrical. His family tries all manner of solutions, including doctors, gurus, macrobiotics, and communes. Along with Persepolis, one of the most impressive autobiographical graphic novels of the decade and one that sets a high standard both narratively and visually.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(7 of 12 readers found this comment helpful)
stumpyjan, September 23, 2006 (view all comments by stumpyjan)
This is definately a graphic novel worth reading! The artwork is detailed but the style fits in the context of the story being told by a young boy. The story is good on several levels. It is well-written when describing and illustrating the fantasies and thought processes of a small child while expressing the emotions (and sometimes comical, in a sensitive way) aspects of living with a brother who has a disability. I am a huge fan of various graphic novels but have never seen one that uses this technique to describe an autobiographical story or such a serious subject.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 3 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375714689
Author:
B., David
Publisher:
Pantheon Books
Author:
B, David
Author:
David B
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Comic books, strips, etc.
Subject:
Brothers and sisters
Subject:
Graphic Novels
Subject:
Brothers
Subject:
Graphic Novels - General
Subject:
General
Subject:
Epilepsy in children
Subject:
Biography & Autobiography : Literary
Subject:
Biography-Literary
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20060731
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
BandW DRAWINGS THROUGHOUT
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
8.88x6.60x1.14 in. 1.44 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » Literary
Featured Titles » Genre
Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » Alternative
Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » Featured Titles
Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » General

Epileptic New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$19.95 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group - English 9780375714689 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The first half of French cartoonist David B.'s astonishing L'Ascension du Haut Mal appeared in English a few years ago, but this is the first time the whole book has been translated, and it's one of the greatest graphic novels ever published. Epileptic is a memoir of B.'s evolution into an artist, how learning to re-envision and recreate the world with his eyes and hands became his escape route from the madness and disease that might have destroyed him. B.'s family becomes involved with the shady alternative medicine world in France circa 1970 in an attempt to help his epileptic, unstable older brother. What B. picks up from that culture, from the military history he obsesses over and from his brother's cruel delusions is the raw material of his art: his stylized bodies and objects, which look like woodcuts and urn drawings, and especially his constant conflation of physical reality and symbolic value. With B.'s parents consumed with finding a cure, and his brother's quality of life deteriorating, B.'s dreams of a normal childhood are constantly undermined by his brother's illness, to be replaced by a waking and dreaming life filled with demons.This struggle becomes Epileptic's narrative core. B.'s artwork is magnificent — gorgeously bold, impressionistic representations of the world not as it is but as he's taught himself to perceive it — especially in the heartbreaking dream sequences near the end of the book. B.'s illustrations constantly underscore his writing's wrenching psychological depth; readers can literally see how the chaos of his childhood shaped his vision and mind." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "The best book of the year...David B's scope and artistry put Epileptic on a par with Speigelman's holocaust masterpiece Maus.
"Review" by , "Though it's superbly drawn, the beauty...is found in the writing and in David B's persistence in trying to understand a brother."
"Review" by , "David B has created a wildly beautiful fantasia on human frailty, on the making of an artist and the unmaking of his own brother — a memoir that is hopeful and bitterly poignant all at once."
"Review" by , "[J]ust as the graphic novel has borrowed from the acute observational skills of the great literary writers of the past, so Epileptic borrows from the great cultural and intellectual archeologies of French nonfiction of the last 100 years, while remaining both accessible and moving."
"Review" by , "A painfully honest examination of the effects of debilitating epilepsy on one man and his family, told through a combination of straightforward text and expressionist imagery that ranges in its palette from centuries-old symbolism to the secret worlds of childhood. Even as he shows up the hollow promises of every school of esoteric and alternative medicine his family encounters in their quest for help, David B. works a real kind of deeply human magic on the page — something forged from black ink and a soul's struggle — that marks Epileptic as one of the first truly great narrative artworks of the new millennium."
"Review" by , "In Epileptic, the distortions of family life caused by his brother's illness are the cracked lens through which David B. explores on his own family's history and, by extension, the conflicts of 20th century France and even, to an extent, the world. The thing that makes this memoir unlike any ever seen before is the wonderful, inky, intricate artwork, and the way that allows us to enter into the story via the rich and angry fantasy life of a growing boy."
"Review" by , "David B.'s sprawling tale of his family, overrun by his brother's illness and obsessed with curing it, is a masterful depiction of people searching for answers when there may be none. David B. is clearly one of the best storytellers in the medium of comics."
"Review" by , "Fantastical, gloriously illustrated graphic memoir of the French cartoonist's life, overshadowed by an epileptic brother....An unromantic, heartrending tale, wrapped in a cloak of nightmares."
"Synopsis" by , The most acclamed European graphic novel of the 1990s, Epileptic is author David B.'s story of his brother's battle with epliepsy — but it tums into a penetrating and sometimes lacerating self-examination on the author's part, as he delves into his own complex emotions and his family's troubled history, as well as his own youthful fantasy life. Particularly pointed is his description of the family's joumey from one attempted cure to another (including acupuncture, spiritualism, and macrobiotic diet), the book is drawn in David B.'s spare but detailed, straightforward but elegant style. Co-published with France's L'Association.
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