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Building Stories


Building Stories Cover

ISBN13: 9780375424335
ISBN10: 0375424334
Condition: Standard
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Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

Coni, August 27, 2013 (view all comments by Coni)
I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I picked up this graphic novel at the comic book store. It came in a huge box. It had 14 different pieces to it. They ranged from small books to newspapers to pamphlets. They all told stories of occupants of a Chicago building. There was no beginning or end. You could read each of the pieces in whatever order to learn a bit more about the occupants’ lives.

I really enjoyed this reading style. Not having a definite beginning reminded me of when you meet someone. You meet so many people at one point in their life, and over time, you learn bits of their history and are with them as they go into the future. Most of the stories revolved around a thirtysomething woman who lived in the building when she was single and later was conflicted about moving to the suburbs after getting married and having a daughter. I began with the stories of her time in the suburbs with hints of what her life had been like before. I finished by reading about her time before her marriage and it really came full circle. I never felt lost when I was reading. I was just given hints of her life at one point in time and learned more as I picked up a different part of the story.

There were other stories involving an unhappy couple, an elderly lady and even a bee. None of these stories were particularly happy. There were bits of happiness, but a lot of regret and sadness. I didn’t find it depressing to read though. I really wanted to keep reading about each person’s self doubts and feelings of hopelessness that kept entering into their minds. Once again, I didn’t find it challenging to read, even with the somber tones. I really connected with the characters and wanted to go back and reread different parts as soon as I was finished.

The only flaw I found with it was the parts with the bee. I am guessing it was there as some sort of comic relief with all the other storylines, but it was still a sad story, and was pretty disconnected with the other stories. There was some connection but it could have easily been left out. I think the time spent on the bee could have been spent developing the storylines of the couple and elderly lady. I wanted more on them that I didn’t get.
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Lenny Starkweather, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Lenny Starkweather)
Great entertainment!
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
Too Many Notes, January 17, 2013 (view all comments by Too Many Notes)
Chris Ware has done it again, but this time with even more tiny pieces to get lost in. This is a hyper-detailed, treasure hunt of a dramatic novel, one that rediscovers all of the fantastic stories in the everyday, as sad and terrible and honest as these may be. The format is part of the story, and adds to the narrative without pretension. "Building Stories" is also just very, very cool.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
abundance, January 14, 2013 (view all comments by abundance)
Our entire family is entranced with this book. Totally unique, so creative. We're glad we ordered before the plethora of orders that left many without this gift to give in December.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
Caitlin Tolland, October 8, 2012 (view all comments by Caitlin Tolland)
Chris Ware, if you haven't read any of his previous work, is a genius at bringing back the horrors of childhood and somehow transforming them into magic. He forces you to connect to discomfort and through his graphic art he makes seemingly inane things beautiful. The cities and lives he creates are absolutely worth the time you will invest. His work is something to think on; each panel presents something to take in and mull over.
I recommend his newest work, Building Stories, because it is time and energy well spent.
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(5 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
 1-5 of 5

Product Details

Ware, Chris
Pantheon Books
Graphic Novels-Literary
Publication Date:
16.6 x 11.7 x 1.9 in 6.12 lb

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Building Stories Used Hardcover
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$35.00 In Stock
Product details pages Pantheon Books - English 9780375424335 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

I've been waiting for this book to come out for at least five years, and this magnificent edition exceeded all my expectations (and they were big ones)! I can't even begin to imagine a book more intricately constructed than Building Stories. I show it to everyone who visits my house, and we all marvel at its amazing splendor!

"Staff Pick" by ,

What a strange yet wonderful box of loveliness! Building stories is odd, sweet, sad, beautiful, and quixotic, yet that barely scratches the surface. Made up of what I can only guess are "chapters" in varied formats, with no true end or beginning, its sprawling size is a bit overwhelming straight out of the box. Yet the melancholy story of the tenants of an old building is fascinating despite (or maybe because of) the fact that it's a cartoon. It is an intimate look at the human condition; the stories of the old woman who owns the building, the constantly fighting couple, and the woman who lost her leg are close observations of human despair. Amazingly accurate in its depiction of interior monologue, each character is so complex, rich, and layered, the soul-crushing burden of their lives is keenly felt. Building Stories will make your heart ache for its characters, and it will make you realize that this tiny slice of life looks mighty familiar.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Ware provides one of the year's best arguments for the survival of print. In more than 200 pages spread over 14 separate printed works that include broadsheets, booklets, and full-sized books, Ware tells the visually stunning story of a nameless woman as she lives a quiet, frustrated life in Chicago. Ware gives voice not only to his nameless heroine but to the people who pass through and fill her life, peering in on the dysfunctional couple that lives below her, the wistful memories of the woman's ancient landlady, the old and crumbling building she lives in, and even the comedic blunderings of a bee named Branford, bringing together stories filled with grief, doubt, and self-loathing. Ware's paper archipelago can be read in any order, making his heroine's progression from single apartment life to dissatisfied motherhood in Oak Park, all the more personal, as if the reader is leafing through her memories, rather than following her linear story. Ware's artwork consistently overshadows his creation's anxieties, her frets and worries made even smaller and pettier by Ware's intricate and expansive art. But the spectacular, breathtaking visual splendor make this one of the year's standout graphic novels. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Chris Ware's Building Stories is the rarest kind of brilliance; it is simultaneously heartbreaking, hilarious, shockingly intimate and deeply insightful. There isn't a graphic artist alive or dead who has used the form this wonderfully to convey the passage of time, loneliness, longing, frustration or bliss. It is the reader's choice where and how to begin this monumental work — the only regret you will have in starting it is knowing that it will end."
"Review" by , "Chris [Ware] really changed the playing field. After him, a lot of [cartoonists] really started to scramble and go holy [expletive], 'I think I have to try harder.'"
"Review" by , "A treasure trove of graphic artworks — they're too complex to be called comics — from Ware, master of angst, alienation, sci-fi and the crowded street....A dazzling document."
"Review" by , "There's no writer alive whose work I love more than Chris Ware. The only problem is it takes him ten years to draw these things and then I read them in a day and have to wait another ten years for the next one."
"Review" by , "If there's one release this year that people will be asking you about, odds are it'll be this one....There's no way to get ready for Ware beyond clearing one's calendar, so yes: it's time to start calling babysitters."
"Review" by , "Ware has been consistently pushing the boundaries for what the comics format can look like and accomplish as a storytelling medium....More than anything, though, this graphic novel mimics the kaleidoscopic nature of memory itself — fleeting, contradictory, anchored to a few significant moments, and a heavier burden by the day. In terms of pure artistic innovation, Ware is in a stratosphere all his own."
"Review" by , "Building Stories is a momentous event in the world of comics — the unusual format of Ware's book is bound to help redefine yet again what a 'graphic novel' can be."
"Review" by , "Remarkable...all of it is drawn in Ware's meticulous style, inked in his bright, bold colors, and written in his decidedly literary voice. This is a publishing event; I can't believe it's retailing for only 50 bucks."
"Synopsis" by , After years of sporadic work on other books and projects and following the almost complete loss of his virility, it's here: a new graphic novel by Chris Ware.

Building Stories imagines the inhabitants of a three-story Chicago apartment building: a 30-something woman who has yet to find someone with whom to spend the rest of her life; a couple, possibly married, who wonder if they can bear each other's company another minute; and the building's landlady, an elderly woman who has lived alone for decades. Taking advantage of the absolute latest advances in wood pulp technology, Building Stories is a book with no deliberate beginning nor end, the scope, ambition, artistry and emotional prevarication beyond anything yet seen from this artist or in this medium, probably for good reason.

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