- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: Granta Books (7 Jun. 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1783784903
- ISBN-13: 978-1783784905
- Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 2.5 x 24.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,612 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Sabrina Hardcover – 7 Jun 2018
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'Nick Drnaso's Sabrina is the best book - in any medium - I have read about our current moment. It is a masterpiece, beautifully written and drawn, possessing all the political power of a polemic and yet simultaneously all the delicacy of truly great art. It scared me. I loved it.'-- Zadie Smith
'The graphic novel being hailed as a masterpiece for our times'Observer
'Nick Drnaso is one of the most ambitious, singular cartoonists to emerge in recent years, and his dedication to novelistic fiction is an inspiration. Incisive, chilling, and completely unpredictable, Sabrina demonstrates the inexplicable power of comics at their best'--Adrian Tomine
'Some middle-aged colleagues and I believe literary comics fiction is possible without resorting to fantastical heroics.. and the youngest and finest exemplar, 28-year-old Nick Drnaso, offers a new book next year to possibly top us all: Sabrina, about a missing woman, a video and the unspeakable possibilities of our contemporary mitigated reality... I have no doubt that if Nick keeps it up, he will do things on paper that no other human has yet imagned (he basically already is), and that's the best kind of heroism imaginable.'--Chris Ware
'Sabrina is startling. Drnaso's formal ingenuity and confidence is matched by the acuity and depth of the story's awareness of who and where we are right now.'--Jonathan Lethem
'Sabrina melds a literary sensibility with an impressive display of the formal techniques of comics... through its seamless integration of pictorial form and content, Sabrina connects intimately with its readers'--The Times Literary Supplement
'Full of compassion and kindness set against a backdrop of internet-driven paranoia and conspiracy theories...Excellent and highly recommended'--Irish Times
'Worth the wait ... Sabrina has a novelistic depth and reach. It feels very of the moment [...] and yet it is also attuned to the mysteries of the human heart... brilliantly spare' -- --Sunday Herald
From the Inside Flap
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018. Where is Sabrina?The answer is hidden on a videotape, a tape which is en route to several news outlets, and about to go viral. A landmark graphic novel, already hailed as one of the most exciting and moving stories of recent years, Sabrina is a tale of modern mystery, anxiety, fringe paranoia and mainstream misinformation -- a book that tells the story of those left behind in the wake of tragedy, has important things to say about how we live now, and possess the rare power to leave readers pulverised. Nick Drnaso was born in 1989 in Palos Hills, Illinois. His debut graphic novel, Beverly, received the LA Times Book prize for Best Graphic Novel. He has contributed to several comics anthologies and has been nominated for three Ignatz Awards. Drnaso lives in Chicago, where he works as a cartoonist and illustrator.See all Product description
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In Sabrina, lives are pretty much on hiatus as characters struggle to find relief from various troubles, not least the disappearance of the titular character. But Sabrina’s is not the only absence: throughout is the absence of something spiritually significant, with social bonds barely existing, and online activity sensationally filling the vacuum. Axel America-like paranoid theories mix with dehumanising routines and ghoulish fascination to create a tangible sense of dread and, ultimately, Drnaso’s plodding storytelling covertly fashions a grim-but-suspenseful narrative.
In the context of Ireland’s abortion referendum, I recently commented how I’d been more desensitised to abortion by the No campaign’s landfill of babies graphic-argument than by the Yes campaign’s efforts at anaesthetising me to the presence of feticide in a repealed Eighth Amendment, and how the lives of the majority are spent eagerly adjusting to the needs of a profoundly sick society—Sabrina explores similar feelings via its tale of collateral damage resulting from a drip-feed of drama played out off-panel and online. As with the abortion referendum, there’s no lee side here; it’s disquieting stuff.
I liked it, a lot. Not in the same way as a novel, more like reading a storyboard for a really good TV show. It was interesting, poignant, moving. It took me an hour or so in total, and I was reluctant to stop reading even though I'd only planned to read 15 pages or so to see how I liked it. I wasn't much taken by the drawing style, to be honest, but I'm going for content over style.
I've no idea what else there is in the world of the graphic novel, but as a first taste this was fantastic. I can't compare it to a full length novel because it's so completely different - as I say it felt more like reading a storyboard for a very good TV show. I'm glad to have tried it.
There are an awful lot of panels/pictures in this 200-page story, many of them without dialogue, but they do capture a ‘feel’ that a text-based novel couldn’t easily do, though an art-house film probably could, but it would be 12 hours long and, apart from a couple of avant-gardists who would sit through anything just to prove themselves superior to ordinary people, would fail to find an audience through the sheer mind-numbing boredom of it all.
The comic-book form, however, allows the reader to perceive, and possibly even experience, the long stretches of ennui, dullness and depression that make up ordinary lives for many people, without actually being bored or causing depression.
Anyway, this is a story of a couple of ‘ordinary’ characters who are caught up in a tragedy – either directly through being related to the victim, or by being associated tangentially to people who are.
It is also set against the backdrop of various horrific and tragic events occurring in America, though at a distance from the characters, via the media. We also get to see some of the cultural differences that separate the British and the Americans, which we are seldom exposed to.
I am a comic-book reader, and have been all my life, but I do pick up many ‘graphic novels’ from my local libraries, just to see if the creators are ‘real’ comic-book creators or just ‘artists’ using the medium for their own artistic ends.
The creator here understands comic-books, and uses a traditional three-tier page (three rows of panels top to bottom) though with two panels to a tier rather than the traditional three that you see in newspaper comic strips.
He also subdivides these panels into four smaller ones to change the pace and focus of his narrative as required.
All comic-book collections (of the individual comic-book issues) are nowadays referred to as graphic novels, as are many single-volume works, but very few of them are genuine novels told in graphic form.
Some comic-books are actually novels told in a serial form (as Dickens and other writers used to do in the great age of magazine publishing), and are genuine works of art in their own right, though critics and readers often argue over which ones (I would put Dave Simm’s Cerebus as the epitome of the graphic novel, myself).
This volume however, despite being in no way a comic-book story, really is a true graphic novel, and is probably the only Booker Prize-listed novel that I can remember reading - I usually prefer ‘genre’ novels, but I do read ‘literary’ works, most, if not all, of the novels of John Cowper Powys, John Dos Passos, F. Scott Fitzgerald, for example, and I have read War and Peace at least twice, just to show that I am not ‘just’ a comic-book fan.
I would genuinely describe this book as a work of art. It might be American art, but art nonetheless.
The author’s style might be a bit ‘primitive’, or ‘naïve’, depending on your artistic vocabulary, but he maintains a consistent style throughout, and coupled with the structure and design of the pages and panels testifies to his skills as a graphic artist.
I picked this up from the library because it was a graphic novel, I only heard about the Booker Prize nomination afterwards.
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