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Polina [Hardcover]

Bastien Vivès
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £16.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

16 Jan 2014

As a very young girl, Polina Oulinov is taken on as a special pupil by the famous ballet teacher Professor Bojinsky. He is very demanding and refuses to adapt his standards to the talents of his pupils, and Polina has to work hard and make great sacrifices in order to reach the level Bojinsky senses she has the talent for. When she graduates and is admitted to the official theatre school, she discovers that Bojinsky's view of ballet is only one of many and that she can't adapt to new rules, new visions. She flees Russia for Berlin, where she meets a group of drama students. Together they create a new form of theatre - and conquer the world.

Brilliantly drawn, Polina is a moving and intimate story of self-discovery. It confirms Bastien Vivès as one of the most exciting talents at work in the graphic novel field today.


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (16 Jan 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224096931
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224096935
  • Product Dimensions: 27.2 x 18.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 425,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A distinctly continental sort of graphic novel: 200 sepia-tone pages of rambling story about a young ballet dancer's training and young adulthood, rather like Black Swan without the madness and body horror." (Tim Martin Daily Telegraph)

"An absorbing tale. Both the art and the narrative are compelling and arresting and it isn't long before the book has you in its gentle grip." (Bookmunch)

"Thrillingly minimalistic. Who knew you could express so much in so few lines?" (Herald)

"I was seduced immediately. This is an exceptionally absorbing and touching book, one that should be required reading for teenage girls everywhere." (Rachel Cooke Observer)

"Vivès conveys emotions with the lightest of touches... a perceptive look at the things in a ballerina's life that fuel her artistry. But it will also delight readers unfamiliar with ballet. It reminds us that youthful hopes and disappointments may be innocent, but they are not necessarily shallow. They can be turned into great art." (Economist)

Book Description

Stunning new graphic novel by Bastien Vivès, brilliant young French author of the highly acclaimed A Taste of Chlorine

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring comic about dancing 17 Mar 2014
By Sam Quixote TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Polina joins an elite ballet school as a young girl taught by the demanding Professor Bojinsky. She becomes an accomplished dancer but, when she goes travelling, she discovers that there are many other forms of dance. She goes on to become a famous international dancer.

This is a really insubstantial story to make a 200 page book out of! A dancer’s life could be interesting (I suppose?) but not like this. Watching Polina become a good ballerina, falling in love for the first time, discovering that – shock! – your first love is rarely your last, and then finding her place in an international dance troupe was beyond boring.

Bastien Vives’ artwork is ok but it looks exactly like he sat in a dance studio and sketched the dancers – most of the book looks like it was made up of sketchbook pages. And he can’t convey “amazing” dance very well either. We see the different stages of a dance but there’s no sense of the stages synching up in any meaningful way. We’re told the dances are moving and powerful but all I saw on the page was static non-sequiturs.

And then there’s Polina herself. Her “journey” discovering that there were other ways to dance – what?!? The banal revelation makes more sense when you realise she was a brain-dead drone with zero personality who just did whatever her teachers told her to do. There was nothing about her character or story that was remotely interesting or moving. “I want to dance a new way!” “Boo hoo, I can’t dance this way!” etc. etc. Give me a break!

When the book suddenly interrupts with a “3 Years Later” page and Polina’s suddenly an internationally feted dance superstar, I laughed because It’s all so contrived.
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Amazon.com: 2.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
2.0 out of 5 stars Pitiful comic about dancing 17 Mar 2014
By Sam Quixote - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Polina joins an elite ballet school as a young girl taught by the demanding Professor Bojinsky. She becomes an accomplished dancer but, when she goes travelling, she discovers that there are many other forms of dance. She goes on to become a famous international dancer.

This is a really insubstantial story to make a 200 page book out of! A dancer’s life could be interesting (I suppose?) but not like this. Watching Polina become a good ballerina, falling in love for the first time, discovering that – shock! – your first love is rarely your last, and then finding her place in an international dance troupe was beyond boring.

Bastien Vives’ artwork is ok but it looks exactly like he sat in a dance studio and sketched the dancers – most of the book looks like it was made up of sketchbook pages. And he can’t convey “amazing” dance very well either. We see the different stages of a dance but there’s no sense of the stages synching up in any meaningful way. We’re told the dances are moving and powerful but all I saw on the page was static non-sequiturs.

And then there’s Polina herself. Her “journey” discovering that there were other ways to dance – what?!? The banal revelation makes more sense when you realise she was a brain-dead drone with zero personality who just did whatever her teachers told her to do. There was nothing about her character or story that was remotely interesting or moving. “I want to dance a new way!” “Boo hoo, I can’t dance this way!” etc. etc. Give me a break!

When the book suddenly interrupts with a “3 Years Later” page and Polina’s suddenly an internationally feted dance superstar, I laughed because It’s all so contrived. We don’t see anything on the page or in the story to suggest how this could have happened, we’re simply told to believe that’s what’s happened. She meets some dance dudes in Berlin, smash cut to 3 years later and everything’s gone swimmingly! Well, show don’t tell, Bastien. In this book, despite the good balance between silent and dialogue driven panels, there’s a lot of telling.

I liked Bastien Vives’ last book, A Taste of Chlorine, but Polina was a completely unbelievable and badly plotted story with dull characters and overly stylised art.
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