Is there anything more marvelously unsettling than a Nick Drnaso graphic novel? Acting Class is an inspired exploration of identity with an ever-present air of menace, and likely the smartest graphic novel that’ll be released this year. Recommended By Keith M., Powells.com
In Acting Class, Nick Drnaso applies his distinctive visual style and singular perspective on modern life to a group of strangers who meet for a series of acting classes. Through their surprising and sometimes surreal experiences, new lessons are learned about truth, performance, and human connection. Recommended By Adam P., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A brilliant and suspenseful follow-up to the Booker-nominated graphic novel Sabrina.
“Every single person has something unique to them which is impossible to re-create, without exception.” John Smith, acting coach
From the acclaimed author of Sabrina, Nick Drnaso's Acting Class creates a tapestry of disconnect, distrust, and manipulation. Ten strangers are brought together under the tutelage of John Smith, a mysterious and morally questionable leader. The group of social misfits and restless searchers have one thing in common: they are out of step with their surroundings and desperate for change.
A husband and wife, four years into their marriage and simmering in boredom. A single mother, her young son showing disturbing signs of mental instability. A peculiar woman with few if any friends and only her menial job keeping her grounded. A figure model, comfortable in his body and ready for a creative challenge. A worried grandmother and her adult granddaughter; a hulking laborer and gym nut; a physical therapist; an ex-con.
With thrumming unease, the class sinks deeper into their lessons as the process demands increasing devotion. When the line between real life and imagination begins to blur, the group's deepest fears and desires are laid bare. Exploring the tension between who we are and how we present, Drnaso cracks open his characters' masks and takes us through an unsettling American journey.
“An unnerving, mind-bending third outing, featuring an ensemble of aspiring thespians in an acting class led by a mysterious teacher named John….A provocative portrait of the search for connection and meaning in modern life.” Publishers Weekly
“Drnaso's mastery of pacing and tone, plus his knack for developing characters through specific detail and natural dialogue, results in an incisive exploration of alienation that is increasingly unsettling as it builds to a shocking conclusion.” Library Journal (Starred Review)
About the Author
Nick Drnaso was born in 1989 in Palos Hills, Illinois. His debut, Beverly, received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Graphic Novel. His followup, the graphic novel Sabrina, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2018 and received nominations for the Booker Prize, the Eisner Award, the LD and LaVerne Harrell Clark Fiction Prize, the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, and the New York Public Library's Young Lions Award. Sabrina has been published in fifteen countries. Drnaso lives in Chicago with his wife and their two cats.