Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli

Asterios Polyp
by David Mazzucchelli
Pantheon Books, 20
09

Published only last year and already regarded as something of a masterpiece, Asterios Polyp is the story of a prominent but slightly unpleasant “paper architect” (an architect whose works have never been constructed) who escapes to a small town when his apartment burns down and reinvents himself as a motor mechanic. This thoughtful book (the first graphic novel by the artist of Batman: Year One) is beautifully designed, laid out and coloured, another good example of a graphic novel telling a story in a way that a film or book can’t.

It covers an amazing amount of ground, with Tom Wolfe-like characterisations, remorse-filled reflections on a past marriage, a surreal Orpheus in the Underworld interlude and a fairly ludicrous ending. Low-key, but quite astonishing.

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