Review: The Realist by Asaf Hanuka

The Realist is a weekly comic strip collection, unfolding Israeli cartoonist Asaf Hanuka’s portrait of contemporary life, commenting on everything from marriage to technology to social activism through intimate moments of triumph and failure.

This year I’ve taken on the task of, slowly but surely, familiarizing my way through a number of Israeli authors. Hanuka’s comics looked like the perfect component. His work seemed at first glance like an illustrated version of Etgar Keret‘s short story style.

So I began The Realist impressed by the author’s individualistic style, but then in the same breath felt disappointed at the depiction of Asaf Hanuka’s utterly mundane and commonplace life. It was mediocre at best and confusing at worst… Fighting with his wife, not feeling loved by his kid, which I want to note that it read like he, as a father, wasn’t doing the best at showcasing his love, either. Such as, constantly being on the phone when his son is trying to connect with him. It just brought to mind Ellen Fisher’s point about how spending “quality, consistent time where your face is not in the phone” will only benefit you both. You can’t expect the bond between father and son to be there without working on it…

Also, at certain times during my reading experience, I felt like the flow from strip to strip was hard to grasp, especially when the author talked about his marriage. His skips around in time just didn’t help the overarching theme.

Even though things didn’t really pan out the way I had planned or expected it to with The Realist, I fortunately still found some quiet little gems here and there that I’d like to share next:The Realist 1--bookspoils

 

The Realist 2--bookspoils

 

The Realist 3--bookspoils

 

The Realist 4--bookspoils

 

The Realist 5--bookspoils

I’ve never felt more seen as when I read the above touching comic.

The Realist 6--bookspoils

 

The Realist 7--bookspoils


3/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying The Realist, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

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Review: 5,000 km Per Second by Manuele Fior

It was hard not to take immediate notice of the utterly beautiful cover for this book. When I then proceeded to check out Manuele Fior’s art style, I was completely blown away by his exuberantly-illustrated pages, his eye for color, and his passion quite visibly ooze off the book. 5,000 km Per Second 1-- bookspoils

5,000 Kilometers Per Second tells–or almost tells–the love story between Piero and Lucia, which begins with a casual glance exchanged by teenagers across the street through a window and ends with a last, desperate hook-up between two older, sadder one-time lovers. Executed in stunning watercolors and broken down into five chapters (set in Italy, Norway, Egypt, and Italy again), 5,000 Kilometers Per Second manages to refer to Piero and Lucia’s actual love story only obliquely, focusing instead on its first stirrings and then episodes in their life during which they are separated–a narrative twist that makes it even more poignant and heart-wrenching.

What originally caught my interest from the blurb was the fact that this collection explored the settings of Italy, Norway, and Egypt. I was beyond curious to see these places captured on page, especially with Fior’s talent for the hypnotic and ethereal. The artistry in here is simply phenomenal. I came to anticipate each bold brushstroke and surprising detail with every passing page.

What came to mind in particular when I saw the the color scheme was Lilli Carré’s Heads or Tails, which I’d recently read and loved. So similar to that collection, 5,000 Kilometers Per Second did not disappoint in the art department. The riotous color palette and watercolors were just out of this world stunning. I mean, so beautiful that words cannot even begin to encompass a tenth of it. In particular, it was the attention paid to the tiniest detail that really added depth to the overarching theme.

5,000 km Per Second 2-- bookspoils

 

5,000 km Per Second 3-- bookspoils

 

5,000 km Per Second 4-- bookspoils

 

5,000 km Per Second 5-- bookspoils

 

5,000 km Per Second 6-- bookspoils

 

5,000 km Per Second 7-- bookspoils

 

5,000 km Per Second 8-- bookspoils

 

5,000 km Per Second 9-- bookspoils

 

5,000 km Per Second 10-- bookspoils

 

5,000 km Per Second 11-- bookspoils

5,000 km Per Second 12-- bookspoils


Though I wish the story wouldn’t have been cut off so abruptly, since it would’ve given our characters more time to evolve and expand in their little universe, the art had me so wrapped around and (practically) hypnotized that I can’t even begin to delve into the minor negatives. All in all: I have Manuele Fior’s artwork on my radar from now on.

4/5 stars 

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying 5,000 Kilometers Per Second, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: Literally Me by Julie Houts

Literally Me is a bizarre and sharp observational collection of darkly comic illustrated essays satirizing modern female identity. However, I was thrown for a loop going into this because I came expecting something along the lines of How to be Alive by Tara Booth, meaning a book full of illustrations with little to no text. So you can only imagine my confusion when I opened up the first essay, thinking it was nonfiction, parodying the unrealistic expectations brides tend to set for their big day, only to read this: “I would recommend doing a colonic an hour before walking down the aisle. I did, and my stomach was so flat it was basically concave.”Literally Me 5-- bookspoils

In the stories following, we have comically wild bits and bobs, including:

-The beauty routine of a deranged bride who aspires to be “truly without flaws” on her wedding day.
-What happens when Kylie Jenner has an existential crisis and can no longer “step out.”
-A journey to Coachella by the Four Horsewomen of the Apocalypse.
-The true dating confessions of a fembot.
-The terrifying description for Alice Staunch’s book How to Be a Perfect Feminist. 
-The diary of Fiddle Ficus, a tree that lives inside a CÉLINE store, and much more.

Full disclosure: I thought I would get accustomed over time to the weird nature behind each story, but I never really did with my reading experience… So in the end, I just went ahead and let myself focus on solely soaking in the bold illustrations in Literally Me.

Literally Me 1-- bookspoilsSame, but with those damned off the shoulder tops.

Literally Me 2-- bookspoils

Literally Me 3-- bookspoils

Literally Me 4-- bookspoils

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: October 24th, 2017

2.5/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Literally Me, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!